Lausanne: Jean Mourer, et Hignou et Comp. 1796. 1st Edition. Octavo, contemporary tree calf, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, red morocco spine label gilt, board edges and panels gilt-ruled, all edges marbled, marbled endpapers, attached pink silk bookmark.
First edition of this work of moral philosophy by celebrated saloniste and woman of letters Germaine de Staël, whose life and activities straddled the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era. "Sans les passions, les gouvernemens seraient une machine aussi simple que tous les leviers dont la force est proportionnée au poids qu'ils doivent soulever, et la destinée de l'homme ne serait composée que d'un juste équilibre entre les désirs, et la possibilité de les satisfaire." Despite her sympathies for Republicanism and the Revolution, Staël's court connections prompted her to flee the Terror for her family's Swiss estate. The upheavals of the day affected her deeply, and De l'Influence des Passions – in which she investigates the relationship between reason and the emotions – reflects Staël's efforts to examine her impressions systematically, with the goal of identifying a path toward individual and political renewal. Though she never completed the second part, treating the influence of the passions upon nations, the work was a bestseller, and played a key role in the development of Romantic sensibility. Second state, as is usual, with all cancels bearing Staël's pre-publication edits. With errata leaf bound in rear. Text in French. Escoffier 81. Schazmann 22. Longchamp 29. Bookplate to upper pastedown. Light embrowning to text, mostly to second half. Small chip to head of spine, with minor edgewear. A near fine copy in contemporary binding. Item #600