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Benoît de Maillet
MAILLET, Benoît de.

MAILLET, Benoît de.
(1656 - 1738)

(Born: St. Mihiel, France, 12 April 1656; Died: Marseille, France, 30 January 1738) French bureaucrat.

French General Consul in Egypt, then consul in Livorno, and finally inspector of the French Factories in the Levante and the Barberi.

Biographical references: ABF: I 690, 414-417, 420-428. DSB: 9, ??. Feller, Biographie Universelle, 1851. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer). Poggendorff: 2, col. 17. WBI.

Telliamed, 1748

1. Latin, 1748 [First edition].
Telliamed | Ou | Entretiens | D'Un Philosophe Indien | Avec Un Missionnaire François | Sur la Diminution de la Mer, la Formation | de la Terre, l'Origine de l'Homme, &c. | Mis en ordre sur les Mémoires de feu M. de Maillet. | Par J. A. G*** | Tome Premier. [-Second.] | [ornament] | A Amsterdam. | Chez L'honoré & Fils, Libraires. | [double rule] | M. DCC. XLVIII.

2 vols. [Vol 1] 8°: [12], [I]-CXIX, [1], [8], [1]-208 p. [Vol 2] 8°: [2], [1]-231, [5] p.

Rare. Posthumously published, this remarkable and evolutionary treatise was treated with skepticism by contemporary researchers, although its theories have largely been shown correct. Even when it was published, the controversy the ideas it contained were enough for the publisher to disguise the author's true name by encrypting it to read "Tallimed" (the reverse of Malliet). By using the device of an imaginary voyage to India by a French missionary, and by presenting the work's philosophy as the beliefs of an Indian mystic, Maillet sought to make palatable his pre-Darwinian theories of evolution. Malliet denied that God was not an omniscient overseer, states that the earth is more than two billion years in age, and believed in the possibility that life in the sea could be transformed into life on the land. He further concludes that such transformations happened not only in the distant past but is continuing to the present time.

The work was not published until ten years after de Maillet's death, and even then reluctantly, by his friend the Abu Le Marcia, who was also responsible for the work's dedication to Cyrano de Bergerac. Even though it was a posthumous publication, Le Mascrier still found it easier to attribute the work to an Indian philosopher by the name of Telliamed rather than give Malliet as the actual author, perhaps in an attempt to avoid controversy. It is thought that Diderot was heavily influenced by this work in his shift from deism to atheism, and Sabin comments that it was `long supposed to have suggested to Mr. Darwin his celebrated theory'.

Bibliographical references: Barbier: 4, p. 673. BL [990.a.16,17.]. Geikie, Founders of Geology, 1905: p. 85-7. LKG: XIII 68. NUC. Sabin, Dictionary, 1868-1936: no. 43891. Sallander, Bibliotheca Walleriana, 1955: no. 19950. Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. 1457. Zeitlinger & Sotheran, Bibliotheca Chemico, 1921-52: no. 4367.

2. French, 1749 [2nd edition].
Telliamed | Ou | Entretiens | D'Un Philosophe Indien | Avec Un Missionnaire François | Sur la Diminution de la Mer, la Formation | de la Terre, l'Origine de l'Homme, &c. | Mis en ordre sur les Mémoires de feu | M. de Maillet, | Par J. A. G*** | [ornament] | A Basle, | Chez les Libraires associés. | [double rule] | M. DCC. XLIX.

4°: [10], lxx, 407 p. Very scarce.

3. French, 1755 [3rd edition, 1st imprint].
Telliamed | Ou | Entretiens | D'Un Philosophe Indien | Avec Un Missionnaire François | Sur la Diminution de la Mer, | Par M. De Maillet. | Nouvelle Édition, | Revue, corrigée & augmentée sur les | Originaux de l'Auteur, avec une Vie de | M. de Maillet. | Tome Premier. [-Second.] | [ornament] | A La Haye, | Chez Pierre Gosse, Junior. | [double rule] | M. DCC. LV.

2 vols. [Vol 1] 12°: [4], vii, [1], 23, [1], lxviii, [4], 240 p. [Vol 2] 12°: [8], 360, [12] p. Very scarce.

Facsimile reprint, 1984: Telliamed ou entretiens d'un philosophe indien avec un missionnaire français sur la diminution de la mer. Paris, Fayard, 1984.

Bibliographical references: BL [725.a.13,14.]. Quérard, France Littéraire, 1964: 5, 442.

4. French, 1755 [3rd editon, 2nd imprint].
Telliamed | Ou | Entretiens | D'Un Philosophe Indien | Avec Un Missionnaire François | Sur la Diminution de la Mer, | Par M. De Maillet. | Nouvelle Édition, | Revûe, corrigée & augmentée sur les | Originaux de l'Auteur, avec une Vie | de M. de Maillet. | Tome Premier. [-Second.] | [ornament] | A La Haye, | Et se trouve à Paris, | Chez Duchesne, Libraire, rue Saint Jacques, | au-dessous de la Fontaine Saint Benoît, | au Temple du Goût. | [double rule] | M. DCC. LV.

2 vols. [Vol 1] 12°: [4], vii, [1], 240 p. [Vol 2] 12°: [16], 360 p. Page size: 165 x 908 mm. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. 1459.

5. English, 1750 [English transl., 1st imprint].
Telliamed: | Or, | Discourses | Between an | Indian Philosopher | And A | French Missionary, | On The | Diminution of the Sea, the For- | mation of the Earth, the Origin | of Men and Animals, | And other | Curious Subjects, relating to Natural | History and Philosophy. | [rule] | Being a Translation from the French Original of | Mr. Maillet, | Author of the Description of Egypt. | [rule] | London; | Printed for T. Osborne, in Cray's Inn. | MDCCL.

8°: [i]-lii, [1]-284 p. Page size: 202 x 115 mm.

Very scarce. First translation of the original french edition of 1748 which anticipated to some extent the ideas of Darwin and Lyell and a forerunner of the uniformitarian geologists of the 19th century and he anticipated Lamarck.

Bibliographical references: BL [726.f.30.].

6. English, 1750 [English transl., 2nd imprint].
Telliamed: | Or, | Discourses | Between an | Indian Philosopher | And A | French Missionary, | On The | Diminution of the Sea, the For- | mation of the Earth, the Origin | of Men and Animals, | And other | Curious Subjects, relating to Natural | History and Philosophy. | [rule] | Being a Translation from the French Original of | Mr. Maillet, | Author of the Description of Egypt. | [double rule] | London: | Printed for Jacob Loyseau, at the Bible, in St. Cle- | ment's, Churchyard. 1750.

8°: [i]-lii, [1]-284 p. Very scarce.

7. English, 1797 [American issue].
Teliamed; | or, the | World Explain'd: | containing | Discourses | between an | Indian Phiosopher | and a | Missionary, | on the | Diminution Of The Sea- | the | Formation Of The Earth- | The | Origin of Men & Animals | and other | Singular Subjects, | relating to| Natural History & Philosophy. | [ornate rule] | -A Very Curious Work.- | [ornate rule] | Baltimore: | Printed by W. Pechin, No. 15, Market-street- | for D. Porter, at the Observatory, | Federal-Hill, | 1797.

8°: xxix, 268 p.

Very scarce. First and rare original American edition of this curious work of the paradoxical philosopher and French Consul in Egypt, Benoît de Maillet.

Bibliographical references: Evans, American Bibliography: no. 32414. Sabin, Dictionary, 1868-1936: no. ??. Zeitlinger & Sotheran, Bibliotheca Chemico, 1921-52: no. 11298.

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