Réflexions philosophiques sur Le Systême de la Nature.

Paris: Chez Valade, 1773. First published in Neuchâtel (though the title-page says “Londres”) the previous year, this is an early (perhaps the first book-length) commentary on Holbach’s Le Systême de la Nature, which was published in Amsterdam in 1770 with a bogus London imprint. Printing and the Mind of Man notes: “Holbach’s target was the very idea of God. Even Voltaire was moved to reply in defense of religion by this “bible of materialism” (P.M.M. 215). With nine cancel leaves bound in at the end. Binding extremities lightly rubbed. A very good, clean copy. Contemporary mottled calf, gilt spine with burgundy morocco spine label, edges stained red. Two volumes in one, twelvemo. [4], 246; [2], 274, [2] pp. Item #13873

In the preface, the editor states that he has made various textual changes and has suppressed certain passages without Holland’s permission so that the book could have a wider distribution. This copy is interesting in that it contains both Holland’s (1742-1784) original text, and the editor’s “improvements.” He also made various improvements to Holland’s French, Holland not being a native French speaker. This first edition of his commentary is rare: OCLC lists eleven copies, eight in North America (Yale, LSU, Michigan, Boston Public Library, Oklahoma, Texas, and Montreal). It is uncertain whether the first edition has the uncorrected text which we see in the cancels, or something even different.

Cioranescu 34133 notes the first edition.

Price: $600.00