Publication of Henry Sully’s book “Règle…” in Vienna and Paris.

Last updated on August 5, 2022

Much of the text (and actual typeset) in the 1714 (Vienna) and 1717 (Paris) editions of Henry Sully’s Règle artificielle du tems is identical.  The Viennese printer (André Heyinger[1]) may indeed have held on to the type forms for a few years (to produce new printings of the book in his shop in order to accommodate demand beyond 1714), or may have printed off a stack of several copies of the book’s sheets and stored them for future needs, before dismantling the type.  Another possibility is an arrangement between Heyinger and Parisian printer Grégoire Dupuis[2], to have a new set of pages printed in Vienna from the original typeset galleys, or have the entire set of galleys sent to Paris so that Dupuis could incorporate it with the typeset of the new pages, to print the new edition.  Another possibility is that Sully could have used unsold copies of the 1714 edition (especially if they were unbound), added the new title page and material at the front and back end, and then had them bound (or re-bound) for sale as the 1717 edition.[3]

As in the 1714 edition, it cannot be determined how many copies of the 1717 edition were produced by Grégoire Dupuis in Paris.  The book appears to have had some success, and since nothing quite the same existed at the time (nor would for many years) there could have been additional demand for copies of the book beyond 1717, which could not have been accommodated without resetting the type, assuming that the copies from Heyinger had run out. 


Vers 1720, environ 1 000 titres paraissent chaque année en France. À la veille de la Révolution leur nombre s’élève à 3 500. Le tirage moyen s’établit entre 1 000 et 2 000 exemplaires tandis que les trente-six volumes de l’Encyclopédie sont tirés à 8 000 exemplaires. Tr: Around 1720 around 1000 titles appear each year in France. On the eve of the Revolution the number has increased to 3500.  The average printing volume is between 1000 and 2000 copies, while the thirty-six volumes of the Encyclopédie (Diderot & D'Alembert) see 8000 copies printed.

Again from the same source:

  • by the Revolution, around 35% of the population could read (with dominance of the cities over the countryside). This lagged considerably behind Protestant countries.
  • according to historian Roger Chartier, the increase in alphabetization between 1690 and 1790 went from 29 to 47 % for men, and from 14 to 27% for women.
  • French press is largely controlled by the State, but Huguenot emigration fosters a “free press” in the Netherlands and London which informs all of Europe
  • Mercure de France has 10,000 subscribers in 1778, 15,000 in 1789
  • On the eve of the Revolution, 150 cities and towns in France have at least one printer, though the majority of initial printing production takes place around Paris.

In spite of the critical comments by the publisher Dupuis to warrant the re-edition of the text for the 1737 final edition of the book (with help from Julien Le Roy), Sully’s original words from 1717 are pleasant to read, and often convey the endearing original voice and linguistic ‘accent’ of an Englishman doing his best to write in French, often literally translating English phrases.

[1] Not much is known about André Heyinger, a printer evidently associated with the University of Vienna.  Most publishers working in Vienna at the time were either of Dutch or French origins, the more famous among them being the Van Ghelen family, and Thomas Trattner.

[2] Grégoire Dupuis (1672-175?) was a printer and bookseller, son of bookseller Jean Dupuis.  Established master in 1696, he declared bankruptcy in 1741, and had left the trade before 1749.  He died abroad, before 1755.  Source:  Dupuis published dozens of books in his career, on various religious, philosophical, historical, and literary subjects.

[3] In William B. Todd ‘Bibliography and the Editorial Problem in the Eighteenth Century’, published in Studies in Bibliography in 1951, is written: ‘Where the seventeenth-century compositor, with a limited amount of type at his disposal, usually had to break down a setting after every sheet in order to recover sorts for further use, the eighteenth-century compositor, with apparently unlimited quantities of type at hand, could on occasion set as many as 350 pages and allow this enormous aggregate of metal to remain intact for innumerable impressions.  Some of these are labeled second and third editions, some are not so dignified.  Some appear with substantial textual alterations, some without the alteration of a single comma.  […]  For such extensive reimpression as this there is no precedent in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, hitherto no exposition of an expedient means for detecting it in the eighteenth, and consequently, no reliable method for interpreting the complexities in printing which have developed over the years.’


  1. Israel xclub said:

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    August 7, 2022
    • Robert said:

      Thanks for your comment. I try to share whatever I’ve learned, and my knowledge is still very incomplete. Take care.

      August 7, 2022

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