Versuchin sittlichen und zärtlichen Gedichten.[Leipzig: Johann Gottl. Immanuel Breitkopf] for Carl Hermann Hemmerde, in Halle, 1754 Stock Code: 137490
A fine example of a Breitkopf publication by an important 18th-century German woman philosopherFirst edition of a beautifully produced work of verse, printed by the celebrated German typographer Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf.
"The only significant German woman writer of 'anacreontic poetry'", Johanna Charlotte Unzer (1724/25-1782) published two early books of verse: the present, a set of contemplative poems which "include illuminating autobiographical references and reflect Unzer's interest in philosophical issues and methods", and the lighter Scherzgedichten (joke or witty poetry) of 1751 (Dawson in Wilson, Schlueter, & Schlueter, unpaginated). "As poet laureate of the University of Helmstedt, she was one of the few female thinkers allowed to speak publically. Her Grundriss einer Weltweisheit für das Frauenzimmer (1751) is a survey of philosophy for female readers. She described Leibniz-Wolffian tenets, while arguing for a philosophical anthropology that was well ahead of its time An early pioneer of environmental philosophy and a subtle critic of Christian theology, she could be characterized as a predecessor of Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of perception. Ranking among the most innovative philosophers of the century, her male peers dismissed her" (Klemme & Kuehn, p. 809), and she was a vocal supporter of women's right to education.
The publishing house Breitkopf, founded by Immanuel's father Bernhard Christoph in 1719, was Leipzig's preeminent printing firm and one of the most important publishers in Germany at the time. Breitkopf the younger (1719-1794) took over the printing operations in 1745. "He studied languages, history, and philosophy (with Gottsched) and brought an intellectual inquisitiveness to matters of printing He not only refined the art of book printing, introducing a new and clearer form of Fraktur, but he also developed new methods of printing playing cards, wallpapers, portraits, and maps" (Stauffer, p. 3). He is best remembered for revolutionizing the printing of music scores with moveable types, and his books are characterized by their superior layout and typographic design.
Small octavo (158 x 98 mm). Contemporary German sprinkled paste paper boards, red spine label, edges marbled and striped.
Engraved vignette title page, head- and tailpieces, initials.
Library label ("Ex Libris Stahl") to front pastedown, bearing a neatly pencilled note: "Gattin des auf unseren Tischbeingemälde Dargestellen. Verbindung zu den Erfurter Ziegler (s. LP Fünkeldaus [sic])"; shelfmarks to same and facing free endpaper, stamp ("v. Böhl. Cramon") to title leaf verso. Boards lightly worn and scuffed, a little loss to headcap resulting in chipped spine label, contents occasionally faintly spotted else crisp and clean. A lovely copy in a contemporary German binding.
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