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Macquer's Dictionnaire de Chymie : A bibliographical study

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The eighteenth century saw the publication of many scientific and technical dictionaries, particularly in France, one of the most important being P. J. Macquer's Dictionnaire de chymie . Both the original text of 1766 and the revised and enlarged version of 1778 were translated into several languages, sometimes with authoritative notes and additions by the translators. No mere list of definitions, Macquer's work contained long articles that made it a comprehensive treatise on chemistry, and it set the pattern for many subsequent chemical dictionaries. We have endeavoured to give an account of the circumstances in which the various editions, reprints and translations were published, and we add detailed bibliographical descriptions of them. Bibliographical purists consider that all the copies of a book printed from the same setting of type constitute an ‘edition', and that there is a new edition when all or most of the type has been reset. However, Macquer described his revised and expanded text of 1778 as the ‘second edition' and this designation has been adopted by subsequent writers, even though the original text was reprinted several times from different settings of type before 1778. In order to avoid confusion we therefore refer to all versions of the 1766 and 1778 editions as ‘issues', ‘printings' or ‘reprints' of the first and second edition respectively.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Roy G. Neville Historical Chemical Library, P.O. Box 912, San Carlos, California, 94070, U.S.A. 2: Department of Philosophy of Science, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, England

Publication date: 1981-11-01

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