12mo (157 x 94 mm). , 259,  pp. Woodcut title vignette, headpiece and initial. Ruled in red throughout. Some discoloration and a few spots. Eighteenth-century French dark blue Jansenist goatskin, spine with red morocco gilt lettering-piece, gilt edges, turn-ins gold-tooled, brocade paper endpapers with multiple colored stencilling on a gauffered gold ground; joints and extremities rubbed. Provenance: Martine-Marie-Pol de Béhague, comtesse de Béarn (1870-1939), by inheritance to her nephew, Hubert de Ganay, and thence to his heirs; bookplate with initials H H.***
First Edition of this translation of St. Augustine’s De spiritu et littera, by the Academician Philippe Dubois or Dubois-Goibaud, who also translated the Confessions. The Approbation, dated 8 August 1697, is followed by a royal privilege dated January 1698 to an anonymous libraire, who soon after transferred the privilege to the Royal Printer Jean-Baptiste Coignard II. Coignard finished the printing on 23 December 1699.
The book’s sober, undecorated covers, the mark of the so-called janséniste style, open to reveal exuberantly colored German floral endpapers. Called “papier doré gauffré” in French, brocade paper was a specialty of Augsburg and Nürnberg, and was probably first produced by engravers or goldsmiths. The pattern was printed either in negative relief, with the motifs in intaglio, so that the “gold” leaf (actually a mixture of brass and an alloy of copper, tin, zinc, and sometimes lead) appears as the ground, as here; or in positive relief, usually showing the patterns in gold on a colored ground. The colors were applied successively using stencils (usually cut in oiled paper or in thin metal sheets). Cf. C. Kopylov, Papiers dorés d'Allemagne au siècle des Lumières (2012), pp. 17-19. Item #4057d