MONTESQUIEU, Charles de Secondat, baron de. ~ Lettres persanes... nouvelle edition, augmentée de douze Lettres qui ne se trouvent point dans les précédentes; et suivie du Temple de Gnide. “Londres” [but Paris], 1784.
2 vols., 16mo (120 × 70 mm.), pp. [iv], 316; [iv], 283, [v], some mispagination, but complete. Engraved portrait of the author. Contemporary mottled sheep, flat panelled spines gilt in compartments with stylised lyre tools, green and black morocco labels, all edges gilt. Old purple circular inkstamps of an Ostend friary to titles. A very pretty set
A particularly nice copy of Montesquieu’s satire on French (especially Parisian) society in which the king, the absolute monarchy, the Parliament, the Academy, the University, and the Catholic church are all very transparently ridiculed. Purporting to be the correspondence of Persian travellers in Europe, the work expressed opinions far more cutting than was traditionally possible, since the views expressed purport to be those of Mohammedans. It was first printed in 1721, and appears here in this false “Londres” imprint with Montesquieu’s early short erotic novel, Temple de Gnide.