Item #05628 Les Mœurs…MDCCXLVIII. François-Vincent TOUSSAINT.
Les Mœurs…MDCCXLVIII.
Les Mœurs…MDCCXLVIII.
Les Mœurs…MDCCXLVIII.
THE AUTHORIAL MANUSCRIPT OF THE FIRST EDITION
MARKED FOR THE PRINTER

Les Mœurs…MDCCXLVIII.

[France], F.-V. Toussaint early 1748.

4to (236 x 168 mm.). Contemporary pagination: [viii], 3-270p. In Toussaint’s small cursive hand.

Late 18th-century calf-backed vellum-tipped pink pastepaper over boards (rebacked), gilt and lettered spine, uncut.

“SCANDALOUS, IMPIOUS AND BLASPHEMOUS” — PARIS PARLEMENT, 6 MAY 1748.
            Les Mœurs shook the foundations of French society. It was the first work to openly formulate the morality of secular and humanitarian happiness and, under the guise of a roman à clef, to unapologetically promote a universal virtue freed from religion. Together with Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des loix (1748) and the Encyclopédie prospectus (1750), Toussaint’s Les Mœurs crystalized Enlightenment ideas into a conscious project and catalyzed the French Revolution.
            A close collaborator of Diderot for the early volumes of the Encyclopédie, Toussaint fled to Bruxelles after the publication of Les Mœurs, then to Prussia, where Frederick the Great offered his protection. “Toussaint was…the first writer who was forced into exile by the harshness of the government” (Mornet, tr.). The book had at least ten printings the first year and thirty-eight to 1800. Toussaint sold the manuscript to his publisher, Durand, for 500 livres: the Chief of Police, Joseph d’Hemery, thought it yielded 10,000 livres.
            Here Toussaint made nearly six hundred additions, deletions and corrections — many midstream — as he wrote out this final draft. The first two chapters became a single “preliminary discourse”. The following chapters were renumbered and the whole divided into three parts. Bold statements praising natural religion and comparing the love of God to that of a wife or of a mistress are among the newly inserted passages.
            His interest in the physical details of the first edition extended to specifying the position of the etched title vignette, suppressing the imprint, requesting a typographic headpiece for the dedication to his wife (pp. [iii]-[iv]) and selecting the type size of the Avertisssement (St. Augustin; pp. [v]-vii]). “L’IMPRIMÉ REND QUATRE POUR CINQ DE MES CAHIERS” — Toussaint.
            In good condition (two inner margins neatly strengthened), marginal introductory notes in two contemporary hands.
            My thanks to Dr. Martin Anton Müller of the Universität Wien, Dr. Gerhardt Stenger of the Université de Nantes and to the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin for their invaluable assistance.
¶Adams, François-Vincent Toussaint: Life and Work PhD Diss. (1966) 29; Mornet, Les Origines intellectuelles de la Révolution française 74-5; Linton, “The Intellectual Origins of the French Revolution” in The Origins of the French Revolution ed. Campell 144-5; d’Hemery, Notes de police sur divers écrivains français du XVIIIe siècle (BnF ms. NAF 10783) f. 124; see Peignot’s Dictionnaire…des…livres condamnés au feu II: 162-3 and Quérard’s Livres à clef 107-8 and Gay’s Bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs à l’amour III: 246.

Item #05628

Price: $55,000.00