Le citoyen désinteressé, ou diverses idées patriotiques,
concernant quelques établissemens et embellissemens utiles a la ville de Paris …Paris: Chez Gueffier, 1767-8 Stock Code: 122620
NotesFirst edition of Dussausoy's programme of public works, the main purpose of which was to provide labour for the idle masses and to inspire patriotism by installing honorary monuments of monarchs and men of military and political renown across Paris, with chapters on the causes of depopulation and the degeneration of the French nation (and how to remedy both). The second volume has a separate title page, with two further publishers named in addition to Gueffier: La Veuve Duchesne and Panckoucke.
Dussausoy additionally recommends a series of improvements to key Parisian landmarks, including the creation of a "Galerie des hommes illustres" in the Louvre - an important contemporary precedent to d'Angiviller's Grand hommes series (c. 1777); the enlargement of halls and markets; the relocation of the Comédie-Français (accompanied by an engraved folding street map); and ideas on the reconstruction of the Paris Opera House after the devastating fire of 1763. The frontispiece to the first volume, "l'Incendie de l'Opera", is by the celebrated French engraver Hubert-François Gravelot.
There are some complications regarding its publication. In the "Avis du libraire" leaf inserted into volume 1 of our copy, it explains that, while the initial intention was to publish the work in a single volume, it became evident while readying to print that a split into two volumes was necessary due to its final length. The printing of the second volume was therefore delayed and having only printed the number of copies subscribed for of volume one, a move was made to produce a more "economic" edition at a more accessible price. Although this difference is not mentioned in INED, Quérard does state that there was a second edition or second printing of Le citoyen désinteressé, alike to a trade edition, which was more common than the first which was essentially a subscriber's issue, published only for those who were subscribed at the time of printing the première partie in 1767 (vol. 11, p. 267). One Worldcat record notes that the second edition is stated as such on the half-title and locates 8 such copies in institutions worldwide (5 in France, 3 in the US). In attempting to discern the differences between the two printings, a comparison of our set with one held in the BnF (accession no. FRBNF32064324) yields several differences, though both have identical title pages and neither the "second edition" half-title. Our copy is substantially longer - their first volume ends at page 180, ours at 210; their second at 198, ours at 233. There are also differences to layout, as well as the page numbers noted for the errata and plate lists, and the "Avis du libraire" leaf is not inserted into the BnF copy. This leads us to suggest that our copy is the true first printing, issued to a subscriber at its full length before being abbreviated for wider publication.
2 volumes, octavo (196 x 120 mm). Contemporary speckled calf, twin red morocco spine labels, compartments ruled to spine in gilt with floral motifs and scrollwork, edges sprinkled red, blue page markers.
Engraved frontispieces to both volumes, 3 plates and 1 table to volume 1 (3 of which folding), 1 folding table to volume 2, engraved head- and tailpieces.
Armorial bookplates of the Bouhier de l'Écluse family to front free endpapers verso, early ownership inscription to title page of volume 2, slightly cropped in the binding process. Extremities mildly rubbed with a couple areas of minor wear, a few small instances of stripping to boards, front hinge of volume 2 cracked but firm, some paper reinforcement to half-title of volume 1 and frontispiece of volume 2, otherwise a bright, clean copy, the binding in particularly fine condition.
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