Antoine Court de Gebelin. Histoire Naturelle De La Parole, Ou Precis de l'Origine du Langage & de la Crammaire Universelle. Paris: Boudet, Valleyre, La Veuve Duchesne, Suagran, Ruault, 1776. Krown & Spellman retail: $1200. First edition. 8vo. 400p. Frontispiece and two folding plates, Alphabet primitif & hand colored plate of the tongue, larynx and speech organs. Contemporary calf, decorated in gilt borders, with gilt edges. Spine rubbed, joints cracked, title label chipped, head and tail pieces lacking. Worn, rubbed, corners bumped and showing, ex-library, "O. Thibault, Fall River, Mass" to title page and first text leaf. Large damp stain to upper margin of frontis and first few leaves, some in middle leaves as well, occasional faint foxing, otherwise good copy. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

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    "Antoine Court who named himself Antoine Court de Gebelin (ca.1719 - May 10, 1784) was a former Protestant pastor, born at Nimes, who initiated the interpretation of the Tarot as an arcane repository of timeless esoteric wisdom in 1781

    His great project had for its goal to set out to reconstruct the high primeval civilization. Reinterpreting Classical and Renaissance evocation of the Golden Age in mankind's early history, Court de Gebelin asserted that the primitive worldwide civilization had been advanced and enlightened. He is the intellectual grandfather of much of modern occultism. His centers of focus are the familiar ones of universal origins of languages in deep time and the hermeneutics of symbolism. While his views on hermeneutics and religious matters were largely conservative, his original ideas and research on the origin of language earn him a place among pioneers of linguistics. Court de Gebelin presented dictionaries of etymology, what he called a universal grammar, and discourses on the origins of language. his volumes were so popular he republished them separately, as Histoire naturelle de la parole, ou Precis de l'Origine du Language & de la Grammaire Universelle ("Natural history of the Word, or a sketch of the origins of language and of universal grammar"), in Paris, 1776."

     - Wikipedia.

    Colored plate of the tongue is by Jacques Fabian Gautier d'Agoty (171-1786), famous for his fascinating anatomic illustrations (this was one of his last). Brunet 2:1516. Cohen 261/2.  Guyot, nr 423. NLM 18th Century: 101. Dorbon Biblio Esoterica: 927. Caillet I: 2662.

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