The Book

The École Polytechnique was founded during the French Revolution, By Gaspard Monge and Lazare Carnot in 1794. Firstly, the school was called École centrale des travaux publics, but was renamed into the École Polytechnique a year later. This school is still a leading school in France, especially known for education in engineering and mathematics.

Descriptive Geometry was one of the main subjects in the syllabus, at the start of this school. It was taught to a range of students on a range of  courses from architecture and engineering, as well as to future teachers. On the 20th January 1795 [1st pluv. III] at the École Normale,  Monge gave his first course in Descriptive Geometry. The text of this course, which was published soon afterwards, came from the stenographic notes of the lessons given, and these were first published in the Journal of the École in 1795, before being transformed into a book in 1799.

Because the book was never written but was made from a spoken word, from the lectures Monge gave, it sounds incredibly modern and without the usual antiquated phrases that can sometimes be found in the books from that period.

The book is given here in its entirety, and you will be able to read it in the English translation in full for the first time. There are other translations in existence, mainly from the 19th century, which in time we hope to make available here too, but they were not made in full from this original and first book on the method of Descriptive Geometry.

Start, of course, from the Preface, which sets out the Programme of the book and the course on descriptive geometry. The Contents page will give you links to all the text contained in the book.