BLAIR, Hugh. [André Samuel Michel] CANTWELL, translator. ~ Leçons de rhétorique et de belles lettres. Paris: [Pougin for] Gide, 1797.
4 vols, 8vo (195 × 120 mm), pp. xvi, 319, ; [vi], 335, ; [vi], 1-176, 171-306; [vi], 324, complete with half-titles, vol. 3 mispaginated but complete. Paper flaws to vol 1, pp. 15-16 and 3, pp. 145-6, the first minimally affecting a few letters. Some gatherings browned. Contemporary marbled sheep, spines gilt in compartments, with bee and stylised sheaf tools, red and green morocco labels. Slightly rubbed, but very good. Early ownership inscription, ‘Vuillaume’ to vol. 1. From the books of the late Martin Stone (1946-2016).
First edition in French of Blair’s influential Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres. First published in English in 1783, it ‘included discussions of the principles of taste and criticism, the rise and development of language, style, and various types of eloquence, both written and oral. Blair's book immediately became the new standard for the study of rhetoric and literary criticism’ (Oxford DNB). Son of an Irish emigré physician, André Cantwell (1744-1802) was a prolific translator of British works: besides Blair, he translated Gibbon, Priestley, Radcliffe, Moore and Ferguson. Rochedieu, p. 26.