Lettres sur l’origine des sciences, et sur celle des peuples de l’Asie, adressés à M..de Voltaire...& précédées de quelques Lettres de M. de Voltaire à l'Auteur.

Elmesly; Paris: Debure, 1777. First edition of a controversial work by the astronomer and one-time mayor of Paris, Jean Sylvain Bailly (1736-1793). In a series of ten letters addressed to Voltaire, Bailly examines the early peoples of Asia and determines that they were the source of arts and sciences. The Lettres are an expansion of some of the ideas expressed in the author’s Histoire de l’astronomie ancienne, depuis son origine jusqu’à l’établissement de l’école d’Alexandre (1775), utilizing new data. The earlier work had brought him into conflict with Voltaire, and Voltaire’s letters to Bailly also appear here for the first time. Light worming along lower edge of back cover and front joint. Old ink ownership mark on title-page, later bookplate on front pastedown. Marginal tear in I6. Overall a very good, attractive copy. Contemporary mottled calf, gilt spine with burgundy morocco label, edges stained red. Octavo. [4], 348 pp. Item #12628

Price: $500.00

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