Histoire de Russie, tirée des chroniques originales, de pieces authentiques, & des meilleurs historiens de la nation ... Tome premier [– cinquieme].

Paris, Debure l’aîné, 1782.


—. Histoire des différents peuples soumis à la domination des Russes, ou suite de l’Histoire de Russie ... Tome premier [– second]. Paris, De Bure l’aîné, 1783.

7 vols, 12mo, pp. [4], xlviii, 442, [2]; [4], 516; [4], 570, [1]; [4], 548, with folding map of western Russia; [4], 565, [3], with folding map of eastern Russia; [4], lx, 537, [1]; [4], vii, [1], 500; title vignettes, woodcut head- and tail-pieces; very occasional light spotting, slight staining to lower blank margins of quires A and E in vol. IV, paper flaw to lower blank corner of P1 vol. V, map in vol. V projecting slightly from text block; an excellent copy in contemporary light brown speckled calf, gilt triple fillet border to covers, spines gilt in compartments with lettering- and numbering-pieces, edges sprinkled blue, marbled endpapers, paper labels with shelf mark to bottom of spines; the odd mark and slight abrasion to covers; a few manuscript corrections in ink to vol. V.


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First edition, a handsome set, in an attractive binding. Trained as an engraver, Levesque (1736–1812) obtained a teaching position in St Petersburg through the recommendation of Denis Diderot. His seven-year stay in Russia resulted in his highly successful Histoire de Russie, a classic work on the region which exercised a considerable influence on western perceptions of Russia and on Russian historiography. Following a list of subscribers and a bibliography of works consulted, Levesque gives a chronological history of Russia from the ninth century to his own times, supplemented with chapters on Slavic language and religion, Russian customs, literature, geography, government, commerce, expansion into Siberia, and navigations and discoveries. The Histoire des différents peuples provides much of interest on the Kamchatka, Kuril Islanders, Koryaks, Chukchi, Samoyedic and Tungusic peoples, Ostyaks, Votyaks, Mordvins, Cheremis, Chuvash people, Lapps, Finns, Estonians, and Tatars, including discussion of their clothing, food, transport, religion and customs, education, government, industry, and health.

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