Homer. L’Iliade, traduction nouvelle [par Charles-François Lebrun, duc de Plaisance]. A Paris: Chez Barbou, Moutard, Ruault, 1776. Purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2011.
A rising star in the political firmament, Charles-François Lebrun published his translation of the Iliad anonymously, as if his civil service colleagues might have looked askance at his dilettantish literary pursuits. These precautions did not diminish his pride in this publication, some copies of which were printed on luxurious large paper with frontispiece engravings after designs by Charles-Nicolas Cochin. Collectors could buy the special copies at more than twice the regular price, and those in the know might receive one as a gift of the translator. Resplendent gilt-tooled red morocco bindings signaled the value and prestige of this three-volume, large-paper copy.