Essai sur le beau


ORIGINAL EDITION of one of the first true treatises on aesthetics written in French.



Essay on Beauty, in which we examine precisely what Beauty consists of in the Physical, in the Moral, in works of the Mind, and in Music.

FIRST EDITIONone of the first genuine treatises on aesthetics written in French.

Yves-Marie André, known as Father André, joined the Jesuits in 1693 and taught philosophy first at Amiens and then at the Collège du Mont in Caen. However, having shown too much attachment to the doctrines of Descartes and Malebranche, he was withdrawn from this teaching and given a chair in mathematics at Caen.

According to theWarningthe work was born out of a dispute "which arose among some Gens de Lettres about Beauty. Each one reasoned about it adventurously enough, without ever bearing the principles that would first have to be agreed upon in order to talk about it properly"..
The author distinguishes four general types of Beau: visible beauty, beauty in morals, beauty in witticisms and le Beau musical.

''This work is one of the first treatises on aesthetics to be published in French, and one of the best books on the subject before Baumgarten's. It distinguishes between absolute beauty, natural beauty and artificial beauty. He distinguishes between absolute beauty, natural beauty and artificial beauty, three orders of beauty which, in his thinking, correspond to the three classes of innate ideas, adventitious ideas and factitious ideas, admitted by Descartes.'' (in Cosmovisions)

An admirer of Father André's ideas on aesthetics, Diderot defended the book on several occasions - "his essay on beauty is the most consistent, the most extensive, and the best linked system I know of. I would venture to assert that it is in its genre what the treatise on the fine arts reduced to a single principle is in its own. " (The beautiful, Encyclopaedia - 1751) - he also detailed the thesis point by point in 1757 in Philosophical investigations into the origin and nature of beauty.

Essay on Beauty had an immediate success and a considerable influence on the conception of aesthetics until the end of the 19th century.





Paris,Jacques Guerin,, Bound,A4, 302 pp, 1 endorsement leaflet.

Bound in contemporary full calf, spine ribbed and decorated with frames and fleurons, title page in red morocco, edges speckled, bookmark. Small loss on the upper head, a bump on the cut of the first plate.


Yves-Marie André

(born in Châteaulin, Brittany, France, on 22 May 1675 and died in Caen, Calvados, France, on 26 February 1764)

French Jesuit priest, philosopher and writer.

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