Three folding printed tables. xxix, 472 pp.; 2 p.l., 450 pp., 3 leaves of errata; x, 373 pp. Three vols. 8vo, later red half-morocco & marbled boards, t.e.g., others uncut. Paris: Villier [Vols. I & II]; A.A. Renouard [Vol. III], 1802-02-04.
First edition, Vols. I & II are one of fifteen sets printed on papier vélin bleuâtre, of this work which gives, in dictionary form, information concerning the various aspects of bibliography, book production, the history of books and manuscripts, etc., etc. Although more than 150 years old, it is a most interesting reference tool, of which many articles are still useful — if not essential — especially those on libraries, collectors, and bibliographers. To pick at random one of many examples: where else can be found a ten-page article on the Abbé Rive, the famous 18th-century bibliographer, with a list of his publications and unpublished writings?
This is a fascinating set, having belonged to the great bibliographer and bookseller A.A. Renouard, with a number of interesting items specially bound in the first volume:
1. The eight-page Prospectus for the book, printed at Vesoul. On the lower margins of the prospectus Peignot has written to Renouard asking for details of his book on Aldus as he would like to make use of the information in his work, of which volume one will shortly appear. He mentions that he had printed 1000 copies plus 15 on papier fin (this present set is one of them), of which 8 are spoken for, but if Renouard would like one or two copies, Peignot must know.
2. A.L.s (3 pp.) addressed to Renouard in Paris, dated from Naples 16 July 1811, written by one Duyrat de Boisset [? possibly from Nîmes, where there was a bookseller of that name] about the detailed organization and the personnel involved in the unrolling and decipherment of the Herculaneum papyri.
3. Translation (6pp., possibly in Renouard’s hand) of the notice on the library of St. Mark’s extracted “de l’appendice italien à la traduction du Spectateur de M. Maltebrun. No. IV” because “la notice de M. G. Peignot sur la Bibliothèque de S. Marc dans son Dictionnaire bibliologique ayant été trouvée insuffisante, on a jugé à propos de publier celle-ci.”
This is a reference to Le Spectateur ou variétés historiques, littéraires, a short-lived periodical edited by Conrad de Malte-Brun which was published 1815-16.
4. A.L. s (4 pp.) from Peignot to Renouard dated from Vesoul 18 January 1808: Peignot is sending some books and an engraving plus two sheets of Dict. des Brulés. “You had asked me for three, but the 8th [sheet] of Vol. 2 I simply do not have. I have included in the same little packet a copy of the edition of Meibomius in translation, which one day will be rare, because the police at Besançon have had the whole edition seized, and I am assured that not even 20 copies escaped. For myself I have 6 copies, which the printer had given me before the catastrophe*. I include also ‘les pensées de Shakespeare par Nodier…I received from Besançon Les apothéoses et imprecations de Pythagore, also by Nodier.” “C’est un in 4o imprimé en capitales, style lapidaire…au nombre de 17 exemplaires, avec le nom du souscripteur auquel l’exemplaire est destiné**. He mentions the forthcoming sale of the library of one M. Duzier, very rich in books on the Franche-Comté and discusses a shortfall in delivery of “la petite collection des stereotypes papier velin…J’ai fais cartonner à dos de maroquin et à toutes marges l’exemplaire [of Lucan] que vous m’avez envoyé, ainsi que le Cicéron, et la bible de Mortier.” Peignot asks for other books to be delivered to an address in Vesoul. He also asks about the prospectus already sent and discusses his account of travel literature and attendant bibliography. He mentions his financial state.
*This is the edition of the French translation of Johann Heinrich Meibom’s (1590-1655), De l’Utilité de la Flagellation dans la Medicine et dans les Plaisirs du Marriage, published with the fictitious imprint “Londres 1801,” but actually printed at Besançon where it attained some notoriety which led to its suppression.
**Les apothéoses et imprecations de Pythagore was published by Charles Nodier with the imprint “A Crotone,” but again published in Besançon in 1808.
5. Copy of a letter from Renouard to Peignot on the subject of his work on Latin writers which he counsels to have printed at Dijon rather than Paris “where you can keep an eye on everything and where the printing shops are superior to those of Vesoul or Besançon.”
6. “Copie d’une lettre écrite” [by Renouard] “à M. Peignot le 23 floréal ou 12-15 mai 1804” (7 pp.) containing a detailed examination and criticism of entries in Peignot’s Essai de curiosités bibliographiques (Paris: A.A. Renouard, 1804). The letter ends “Voici les observations que m’a suggerées un examen rapide, comme ells sont uniquement pour vous j’ai cru pouvoir les écrire à la hâte…”.
Provenance: A.A. Renouard (1765-1853) and A.R.A. Hobson.
❧ N.B.G., Vol. 39, col. 462–“ce recueil, important et utile, fruit de douze années de travail.”.
Item ID: 5283