Title: Oeuvres diverses de M. de Fontenelle, comprising of: Nouveaux Dialogues des morts; Entretiens sur la Pluralite des Mondes; and Histoires des Oracles, 1721
Author: Bernard de Fontenelle
Publisher: A Londres, Aux depens de Paul [et] Isaak Vaillant,
An early 18th century edition of the works of Fontenelle, containing his New Dialogues of the Dead, Plurality of Worlds, and History of the Oracles.
Broken down into three parts itself, the Dialogues of the Dead contains the Dialogues of the Ancients, the Ancients of the Moderns, and the Moderns, with an additional section on the Judgement of Pluto.
Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds provides an explanation of the heliocentric model of the solar system, originally suggested by Nicolaus Copernicus. The book itself is written as a series of conversations between a philosopher and marquise, taking a stroll in the garden while gazing at the stars. Interestingly, the philosopher also muses on the possibility of life beyond the stars, or extra-terrestrial life in short.
Lastly, the History of the Oracles is an essay which critiques the divination and skills of the oracles of Ancient Greece, while doubly denouncing miracles and casting doubt on the supernatural in general, mainly critiquing fears that worship of the Greek pantheon was akin to demon worship. In 17th century France, it was one thing to attack and discredit Polytheism or non-Christian faith in general, but it was another thing entirely to attack prejudices against the oracles which would normally strengthen faith in Christianity. For this, Fontenelle was accused of atheism, a heavy crime at the time, and one he may have been forced to deal with had it not been the timely intervention of the without the intervention of Marc-Rene de Voyer de Paulmy, lieutenant general of police.
There is a decorated frontispiece to each work, and an additional folding plate depicting the solar system model of the 17th century, with only 6 planetary bodies.
Three works finely bound into one volume, 206, 1-125, 126-260 pages
On note of condition, this volume is in good shape, with some rubbing and wear to the binding, namely to the right side of the front board`. The first gathering of pages of to page 23 is jutting out slightly. There is very little foxing or staining throughout.