Promenades de Monsieur de Clairenville. by D ***, Mr.

Promenades de Monsieur de Clairenville. by D ***, Mr. < >
D ***, Mr.

Promenades de Monsieur de Clairenville. Où l’on trouve une vive peinture des Passions des hommes, avec des Histoires curieuses & véritables sur chaque sujet. Par Mr. D***. Cologne, 1755.

Third Edition. 12mo, (162 x 93 mm), pp. [iv], 362, [3] table of contents, in contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers, red speckled edges, from the library of Claude Lebédel.

A delightful anonymous work in which narratives and philosophical digression are happily mixed. Consisting of a total of eight ‘Promenades’, each of which is loosely intended to elucidate one aspect of human passion. In the author’s brief introduction, he laments that the only explanation for the prevailing morality and behaviour is that men have become children. ‘La plûpart des hommes ont aujourd’hui abandonné les lectures sérieuses & instructives, parce que l’application qu’elles demandent, se trouve absolument incompatible, avec l’esprit de volupté qui les domine’ (Préface de l’Auteur, p. iii).
In the first Promenade, Monsieur de Clairenville meets a knight of Malta and falls into conversation with him. The knight tells him of his aventures, including the tragic story of the beautiful Sophie. The second Promenade, subtitled ‘Sur les Passions’, contains an essay on the education of youth and a tale about a young Paris lawyer. The third Promenade, ‘Sur l’Usage des Passions’, includes a prayer to Saint Christopher, a discussion of Jesuits and monks and a section on Reason. The fourth is ‘Sur l’Amour’, with reflections and a story of a young lady who could not cure herself of this malady. The fifth, ‘Sur la Colère’, gives the history of Leonore and Olympia. The sixth Promenade provides a discussion of Avarice, with a strange miscellany of reflections on France, trade in Mississippi and John Law, concluding with ‘Histoire curieuse d’un Avare, qui avoit beaucoup gagné au Mississipi’. Seven is Ambition, with the tale of a persecuted cleric and eight is Hatred, which begins with a conversation between Monsieur de Clairenville and a Carmelite, outlines the author’s general system for understanding this passion and concludes with the final story, ‘Histoire de la Comtesse de.... les excès où elle se porte pour satisfaire sa Haine contre son Mari’.
First published in 1723 (see Jones p. 35) under the slightly different title of Promenades de Mr. de Clairenville, and then republished in 1743 and the present edition under the present title. It was republished in the first volume of the Bibliothèque universelle des romans, April 1782. Despite its evident popularity, with three editions spanning a number of years, this unusual work is now very scarce.

OCLC lists the 1723 edition at BN, Berlin, Toronto and Texas; the 1743 edition at Berlin, Newberry, Harvard, Tulane, Kansas and Boston PL and the present edition at Vanderbilt only.

Jones p. 35; MMF 55.R.6.

Keywords: Continental Books
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