Very Good. Item #7715
Paris: Librairie Félix Alcan, [1925 or 1926]. First Edition. Octavo; Vol I xl + 473pp; Vol II continues pagination through 944 + 1p of errata. Broché with laid-paper wraps. Remarkably good copies, though showing age-tanning throughout. Only the wrappers have any signs of foxing, and that is minimal. The textblock is unmarred and unmarked, though page edges are starting to grow delicate (but not brittle) due to acid content. Broché spines are more deeply tanned but not flaking; see photographs for the minor erosions at the spine crowns and feet. Entirely in French.
Another equally valid way of Englishing the French title would be “Urbane Good Manners and Theories of Decency.” Reprinted by Slatkine in 1970, this original issue is infrequently available in North America. Worldcat shows only 1 copy of this first edition in North American holdings (at Duke); 14 in Continental Europe, and 2 in Australia/New Zealand.
Magendie’s important study of the French concept of the “honnête homme," the decent or honorable man, crucial for appreciating Molière and most of his 17th-century peers, was initially presented as Magendie’s doctoral thesis in 1925. It was published in this two-volume form either that year or 1926 (French records vary), when it received the Prix d’Académie from the Académie Française. Magendie himself died during the Second World War as a deportee in 1944; his name is engraved on the walls of the Panthéon in Paris along with other French writers who shared the same fate. O tempora, o mores, heu . . .