Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d'Argens (1704-1771) was a French philosopher and writer. He wrote the Lettres chinoises (in 6 vol.), a fictitious correspondence of five Chinese travellers settled in Paris, who correspond with compatriots settled in Pekin, Nagasaki, Ispahan, Moscow, Siam…
The Lettres chinoises belong to the epistolary genre, favored by the Enlightenment philosophers to circumvent censorship and convey their ideas, providing European societies a mirror to themselves through the voice of foreign fictive characters.
This volume belongs to the Ronald Dreyer Collection, which was donated by his wife Dr Marilyn Dreyer-Pigott to the Institute in 2014.
Alumnus of the Institute, Dr Ronald F. Dreyer was a diplomat and international expert in peace-building issues and democratisation processes. He also was a passionate bibliophile, who collected ancient books in connection with his own fields of expertiste – international relations, diplomacy and peace-building, but also politics and XVIIIth-century French literature.
Several of these remarkable items have been digitised to allow an open access to these beautiful and rare items, such as the volume VI of the Lettres chinoises by the Marquis d’Argens (edition of 1769) and a calfskin-bounded volume of De la manière de négocier avec les souverains by François de Callières (1716). Other books of the invaluable Ronald Dreyer Rare Books Collection are to be digitised in the coming months.
To read more about the Donation Ronald F. Dreyer and the collection, click here.