Du contrat social, ou principes du droit politique.

ROUSSEAU Jean-Jacques (1772)


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Woodcut and typographical ornament throughout. 

12mo (160 x 95mm). [8], 283, [1]pp (lacking final two blanks). Contemporary quarter speckled sheep with paste-paper covered boards, with corners of ?different material laid under paste paper, spine simply gilt in compartments with title lettered in gilt on red label, edges stained yellow (wear to calf on upper board, minor chipping to headcap, paper rubbed and worn, corners worn). 

Amsterdam [Geneva]: Marc-Michel Rey [Nicolas Gallay], 

An uncommon counterfeit edition of Rousseau's most famous work, printed ten years after the first edition in 1762.

This text includes the note on civil marriage that was, at the request of the author himself, suppressed in the later variant of the first edition (Dufour's Type B) for fear of censorship. Also present at the end of this volume is a fictional letter from the author, 'Lettre...qui contient sa rénonciation à la Societe Civile', signed 'J. J. Rousseau, homme civilisé...mais à présent, Orang Outang'; it has been attributed variously to Pierre Firmin de Lacroix (Quérard; Barbier, Notice Bibliographique, no.224) and Klinglin (Leigh, p. 58).

Surviving correspondence by the printer of the first edition,  Marc-Michel Rey, indicates that pirate copies of Rousseau's text had already appeared by the end of August 1762, just five months after his first edition came off the press. By 1563, just a year later, Leigh estimates that there were already at least fifteen editions of this text in circulation. the number of pirated editions and reprints that appeared so shortly after the first edition are a testament to its almost instantaneous recognition as a rallying cry for the equality of all men and its role in the development of revolutionary feeling in France. 

Dufour, 141. Barbier, Notice Bibliographique (4th ed.), no.224. Leigh, Unsolved Problems, p.58. 

OCLC: CSU Northridge, Princeton. UK: Cambridge, Oxford..

Stock Code: 251634

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