Telliamed ou Entretiens d'un philosophe indien avec un missionnaire François sur la Diminution de la Mer, la Formation de la Terre, l'Origine de l'Homme, &c. UTOPIA, Benoît de MAILLET.
Telliamed ou Entretiens d'un philosophe indien avec un missionnaire François sur la Diminution de la Mer, la Formation de la Terre, l'Origine de l'Homme, &c.
Telliamed ou Entretiens d'un philosophe indien avec un missionnaire François sur la Diminution de la Mer, la Formation de la Terre, l'Origine de l'Homme, &c.

Telliamed ou Entretiens d'un philosophe indien…
Telliamed ou Entretiens d'un philosophe indien avec un missionnaire François sur la Diminution de la Mer, la Formation de la Terre, l'Origine de l'Homme, &c.

Amsterdam: Chez L'honore & Fils. 1748.

Two volumes in one, octavo, owner's name on title; contemporary French mottled calf.

Pre-Darwinian utopia dedicated to Cyrano de Bergerac

First edition of this important, controversial, and strangely prescient work, dedicated to Cyrano de Bergerac. By using the device of an imaginary voyage to India by a French missionary, and by presenting the work's philosophy as the beliefs of an Indian mystic, Maillet sought to make palatable his pre-Darwinian theories of evolution. Generally, the work was based on de Maillet's observations throughout Europe, and depends on the study of geological age to contradict the biblical chronology. Although most of the theory is sheer fancy - in particular his belief that the earth is in fact a burnt out star - his insistence on the importance of scientific study of rock formations was influential. It also uses classical and modern precedent to tentatively suggest that all life may in fact have had its origins in the sea.

First edition of this important, controversial, and strangely prescient work, dedicated to Cyrano de Bergerac. By using the device of an imaginary voyage to India by a French missionary, and by presenting the work's philosophy as the beliefs of an Indian mystic, Maillet sought to make palatable his pre-Darwinian theories of evolution. Generally, the work was based on de Maillet's observations throughout Europe, and depends on the study of geological age to contradict the biblical chronology. Although most of the theory is sheer fancy - in particular his belief that the earth is in fact a burnt out star - his insistence on the importance of scientific study of rock formations was influential. It also uses classical and modern precedent to tentatively suggest that all life may in fact have had its origins in the sea.
De Maillet (1656-1738) was a diplomat and explorer. His fame rests almost exclusively on this work, which Ward and Carozzi described as introducing 'the concept of slow changes over a great period of time and that of a diminishing ocean as well as the evolution of marine life into terrestrial life. Everybody read Telliamed'. The work was not published until ten years after de Maillet's death, and even then reluctantly, by his friend the Abbé Le Mascrier, who was also responsible for the work's dedication to Cyrano de Bergerac. Even with this posthumous publication, Le Mascrier still found it easier to attribute the work to an Indian philosopher (the eponymous 'Telliamed' is a simple inversion of the author's real name) in an attempt to dilute its radical impact. It is thought that Diderot was heavily influenced by this work in his shift from deism to atheism, and Sabin comments that it was 'long supposed to have suggested to Mr. Darwin his celebrated theory.'

Barbier, IV, p. 673; Ward and Carozzi 1457.

Price (AUD): $3,600.00  other currencies     Ref: #3005430

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