Recently, while cataloguing some volumes from the J. Patrick Lee Voltaire Collection acquired by McGill in 2013, our colleague Marc Richard discovered a very intriguing book:
“This particular edition of L’évangile de la raison was published in Year 10 of the French revolutionary calendar, a date which corresponds to either 1801 or 1802. It’s a compilation of previously published works, assembled and edited by Voltaire, and includes many works written by him. Several editions of this compilation exist; indeed, the J. Patrick Lee Collection also holds a 1765 edition of the same title.
The 1801 edition, however, is extremely rare. In fact, Georges Bengesco, who compiled the standard bibliography of Voltaire’s works, Voltaire: bibliographie de ses oeuvres, had not been able to locate it at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The only mention of this edition in Bengesco’s authoritative listing is a reference to Antoine-Alexandre Barbier’s Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes, which provides a brief entry for it saying: ‘Réimprimé sous le titre de “L’évangile de la raison. Ouvrage posthume de M… D… V… et D… F…” Se trouve chez tous les imprimeurs et libraires, an X, in-8, XVI-224 pp.’
The Voltaire volumes of the Bibliothèque nationale’s Catalogue général des livres imprimés, published in 1978, do not include this edition at all, and prior to our cataloguing of this edition there was apparently no record for it in the OCLC WorldCat online database, which covers the major research libraries in North America and much of Western Europe.”
McGill’s volume confirms that this edition survives. The book is available for consultation here at RBSC, and more detailed information about it can be found in the catalogue record which Marc has prepared for it. Marc’s description makes it possible for researchers around the world to discover this copy of the volume, and our digitization team has created a full high-quality digital reproduction. The record for the physical copy can be viewed here; the full digital copy can be linked to from the e-copy record here