Geneva, Chez Cramer, 1754. 8vo. Bond in 2 nice contemporary full mottled calf with richly gilt spines and five raised bands. Ex-libris pasted on to pasted down front free end-paper on both volumes. A small tear to upper capital on volume I and title labels on spines are missing. Otherwise a very fine and clean copy. Pp. (50), 432; (2), 435-915, (4) pp.
Second edition of Voltaire's history of France. In it he gives a chronological account of the French Empire from the year 742 till 1648. Voltaire exercised immense influence on the development of modern historiography through his innovating new ways of interpreting the past.
"Essential to the new conception of a history in the place of histories is the recognition of the role of process and development. There is a central theme to this development, as in Voltaire's [present work]: the progressive development of intellect, culture, and society. This awareness of a theme fundamentally changes the character of historical writing and introduces a developmental structure to the great narrative historical writings of the eighteenth century." (Iggers. Progress and its discontents, 1982, p. 44).
Voltaire explains his view of historiography in his article on "History" in Diderot's Encyclopédie: "One demands of modern historians more details, better ascertained facts, precise dates, more attention to customs, laws, mores, commerce, finance, agriculture, population.". The present work is a fine example of this tradition.