Title: Cours d’Etudes Encyclopediques
Publisher: [Artaud] , [Paris]
Publication Date: 1800
Book Condition: Very Good
4to (240 x 200mm). Later three quarter cloth over mottled calf, morocco label on spine lettered "Cours d’Etudes Encyclopediques par Fr. Pagès Planches." (some plates curled at the fore-edge otherwise in tact).These are the complete 61 plates from the second edition of Pagès six volume encyclopedic work on natural history titled the Cours d’Etudes. Encyclopedic projects during the French Enlightenment, like that Diderot, were major historical events which precipitated prolonged controversy among intellects and clarified the positions of various amorphous factions in the intellectual and emotional world of the eighteenth century. Those who rallied themselves on the side of the encyclopedists in effect formed a party, or the rudiments of one, which served as the spiritual predecessor for groups of reformers who were to preside in large measure over the transformation of the conditions of life in France and throughout the western world during the next generation. Rather than isolating themselves, scholars like Pagès believed they were very much involved with the affairs of the world and believed that their intellectual activity contributed to the progress of knowledge, serving a social function. These whimsical, animated illustrations exude such energy and articulation of a lively world up for exploration. Complete suites of plates for François Pagés ‘Cours d’Etudes Encyclopediques’ a wonderful visual journey of natural history dating to the French Enlightenment. The first part of Pagès encyclopedic work contains the origins of progress in science, the belle-lettres, fine arts and mechanical arts. The second part is the analysis of their principles and a third part describes the objects in detail. The accompanying plates are arranged in a first suite of folding copper-engraved plates numbered to 51 with representations for musical notation, a pneumatic machine, microscopic cross-sections of cells, tools for telling time, measuring weight and angles and then rich in a variety of animals including a horse, stag, bat, lynx, polar bear, armadillo, elephant, zebra, porcupine, and rare species of birds, fish and sea-life and insects, which make up a bulk of the engravings (approx. 240 x 360mm). A second suite of 10 folding copperplate engravings are sized larger (approx. 330 x 450mm) include a first plate representing an elementary plan of botany, then tables for divisions of animal classes, comparison of measures, nomenclature of birds and fish, and lists of species. On its own this stands as an incredibly rich and interesting visual panorama of natural life, historical context and the expressive engravings make it ever more pleasing. Bookseller Inventory # D8193
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