BENOIT-LÉVY, Georges (Preface par Charles Gide)

La Cité-Jardin.

Published: Paris: Henri Jouve

Date: 1904

First edition. 8vo (255x165mm). pp. viii, 288. Original illustrated card wrappers lettered in blue in a distinctive art nouveau style. Some shelfwear and marking to the covers and a water stain to the front edge of the upper cover. Small tear to the joint at the foot of the spine but overall in very good condition. Upper cover has the label of Louis de Meuleneere, 21, Rue du Chene, Bruxelles. This firm was a great Brussels booksellers and the predecessor to Tulkens from where this book was bought when it closed in 2008. Pages unopened, so the contents are in excellent condition. Text in French. Illustrated with black and white photographs.

The idea of the Garden City is traced to Ebenezer Howard’s 1898 work To-morrow: a Peaceful Path to Real Reform, reissued in 1902 as Garden Cities of To-morrow. In 1904 Unwin and Parker won the competition to design the first Garden City at Letchworth. Howard’s idealism quickly spread and it is a measure of his success that only a few years after his original book, he inspired this detailed and important study of the Garden City movement by Georges Benoît-Lévy. The preface is by Charles Gide (the uncle of André) who was a theoretician of the co-operative movement. Benoit-Lévy became a leading figure in the Garden City movement writing widely on the subject. This work was republished in an expanded second edition in 1911 running to three volumes. But this rare 1904 first edition marks the beginning of the French adoption of Garden Cities.