[False locations] / Brussels: [False publishers] / F. Foppens, 1678. First French Edition / Later editions. Hardcover. Two works (the latter in five parts), in two volumes, the first published in 1678, the latter in 1731, duodecimo. , 531, [29, table], [1, fautes], [1, blank], 30 (remarques); , 158, 483, [2, table], [3 blank]pp. Uniformly bound in eighteenth-century French green morocco, gilt-tooled spines, a.e.g., marbled endleaves. A beautiful little set.
First French translation (one of two nearly identical issues, the present copy with misprint ‘PREEACE’ in the headline at [asterisk]10v). Originally published in Latin anonymously in 1670, and reissued at least twice over the next four years, this celebrated work of early modern criticism and political philosophy by Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677) comprises a strong defence of secular government, and a systematic critique of revealed (biblical) religion. Immediately upon its publication the work was castigated and condemned throughout the Republic of Letters. Pierre Daniel Huet, for example, referred to the work in his Alnetanae quaestiones (1690) as “that horrible and sacrilegious book full of impiety, ignorance and madness.” (J. Israel, Radical Enlightenment). While Huet was here content to merely vilify Spinoza, he nonetheless felt the need to first present a scholarly refutation in his Demonstratio Evangelica (1679). The final thirty pages comprise the "Remarques curieuses et necessaires pour l'intelligence de ce livre", a French translation of the notes Spinoza had penned in his own copy of the Tractatus. Curiously, these notes were not published in the original Latin until Christoph Gottlieb von Murr edited the Adnotationes ad Tractatum theologico politicum, ex autographo edidit, which was published at The Hague in 1802.
On the evidence of the earliest biography of Spinoza, attributed to Jean Maximillien Lucas, it is assumed that the translator was the French refugee from Anjou, Gabriel de Saint-Glain. Arriving in the Netherlands as a Calvinist, after meeting Spinoza Saint-Glain became "one of his pupils and one of his greatest admirers" (Kingma-Offenberg).
To hide the identity of the text, booksellers were offered a choice of three false titles: La clef de sanctuaire, par un sçavant homme de notre siècle (Leyde: Pierre Warnaer); Réflexions curieuses d'un esprit désintéressé sur les matières les plus importantes au salut, tant public que particulier (Cologne: Claude Emanuel); Traitté des ceremonies superstitieuses des Juifs tant anciens que modernes (Amsterdam; Jacob Smith), all dated 1678. Copies with all three titles present are relatively scarce. Complete with initial blank.
Brunet V, 492. Barbier IV, 775. J. Kingma and A.K. Offenberg, "Bibliography of Spinoza's Works up to 1800" [in:] Studia Rosenthaliana, no. 11, pp.1-32, Y.4/Y.5 (the third title page is X.1). Linde, A. van der, Benedictus Spinoza (1871), p.4: 10-12. Weller, E. Falsche Druckorte vol. 2, 1678.
I. French translation of Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus by Gabriel de Saint-Glain, second issue printed in a clearer type, and with misprint ‘PREEACE’ at [asterisk]10v. All three false title pages are present: La clef du santuaire par un sçavant homme de nôtre siecle, A Leyde: Chez Pierre Warnaer, ; Reflexions curieuses… sur le matieres plus importantes au salut, tant public que particulier, A Cologne: Chez Claude Emanuel, 1678; Traitté des ceremonies superstitieuses des Juifs tant anciens que modernes, A Amsterdam: Chez Jacob Smith, . Originally published in Latin in 1670, the present version is the first to contain an appendix of Spinoza’s own notes (in French translation) which he had penned in the margins of an earlier Latin edition just months before his death. Kingma-Offenberg 16 (Y1). Van der Linde, 10-12; Wolf Spinoza Collection 373.
Collation: I: [pi]3 (false titles), [asterisk]2-12 (blank [asterisk]1 precedes title; [asterisk]3-7 signed [asterisk]2-6), 2[asterisk]4, A-2A12, 2B8 (= 314 leaves).
II. Bruxelles: F. Foppens, 1731. A remarkable collection of Spinozana edited by Abbé Nicolas Lenglet du Fresnoy: a life of Spinoza compiled chiefly from the biography (1706) by Jean Colerus; a preface followed by the Réfutation de Spinosa by Henri de Boulainvilliers; an extract from François Lami’s Le nouvel athéisme (1696), along with the extract of François Fénelon’s appended letter; a reprint of Isaac Orobio de Castro’s Certamen philosophicum (1703). Bamberger 315. Van der Linde, 107-108.
Collation: [pi]2, a-f12, g10, A-V12, X4 (= 328 leaves, blank X4).
Provenance: from the Chatsworth library of Spencer Compton, VIII Duke of Devonshire, with his bookplate. Fine. Item #48865