Influential, scientifically based monograph on the education of children

CROUSAZ, J.P. DE. Traité de l’Education des Enfans. Par J.P. de Crousaz, ….. Tome Premier [- Tome Second.] A la Haye, Chez les Fr. Vaillant & Prevost, 1722. Titles printed in red and black, engraved vignette by Picart, woodcut decorated initials. Two volumes. [20], 471, [1] pp.; [4], 564 pp. 12mo. Contemporary mottled calf, spines gilt with raised bands, labels with gilt lettering, spine-ends somewhat damaged, joint a bit rubbed with a few short splits, a few minor blemishes, but sound & solid.

€ 900

Conlon 22:437; Buisson, Dictionnaire de Pédadogie et d’Instruction Primaire, vol i, p. 624; Cioranescu 21917. Rare first edition of an influential, scientifically based monograph on the education of children. The work constitutes an important link between 17th century and 18th century ideas on pedagogy. It contains chapters dealing with various educational subjects: an exposition of the qualities of the good father, how to give the first lessons, on the method to expand the knowledge of young children, use of knowledge, how to teach geography, history, ethics, the use of reason in matters of religion and morals, discussess recreation and travel, etc. The work was very influential and Rousseau had read the book (as well as an earlier treatise on education by Crousaz) before writing his famous Emile. De Crousaz (1683-1750), a Swiss theologian and philosopher, was born in Lausanne. He was a many-sided man, whose numerous works on many subjects had a great vogue in their day: he has been described as an initiateur plutôt qu’un créateur (an initiator rather than a creator), chiefly because he introduced the philosophy of Descartes to Lausanne in opposition to the reigning Aristotelianism, and also as a Calvinist pedant (for he was a pastor) of the French abbés of the 18th century. Nevertheless, whether he was an initiator or creator, his Commentaire sur l’analyse des infiniment petits, appeared in 1721, made him famous (See: Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. ii, pp. 484-6). He studied in Geneva, Leiden, and Paris, before becoming professor of philosophy and mathematics at the academy of Lausanne in 1700. He was rector of the academy four times before 1724, when theological disputes led him to accept a chair of philosophy and mathematics at Groningen. In 1726 he was appointed governor to the young prince Frederick of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), and in 1735 returned to Lausanne with a good pension. In 1737 he was reinstated in his old chair, which he retained to his death. Edward Gibbon, describing his first stay at Lausanne (1752-1755), writes in his autobiography, “The logic of de Crousaz had prepared me to engage with his master Locke and his antagonist Bayle”. Crousaz belonged to the so-called “rationaux”, the cream of the European Huguenot intellectual elite, the foremost of whom were Le Clerc, Saurin, Jaquelot, Bernard, Durand, Benoît, Barbeyrac, and Crousaz himself. Their prime aim was to rebuild a viable and stable synthesis of faith and reason, authority and freedom, science and religion, to which Boyle, Locke and Newton in England, Malebranche in France, and Leibniz and Wolff in Germany were all so fervently commited. – Somewhat browned and spotted throughout, else a fine copy.