L’Ecole de l'Homme, by GÉNARD, Françcois, (ca. 1722-1764).

GÉNARD, Françcois, (ca. 1722-1764).

L’Ecole de l'Homme, ou Paralléle des Portraits du Siècle, & des Tableaux de l'Ecriture Sainte. Ouvrage moral, critique & anecdotique. Nouvelle Edition. Tome Premier [-Second]. Londres, 1759.

New Edition. Two volumes in one, 12mo (164 x 92 mm), pp. [iv], xxiv, 224; [iv], 259, some light browning in the text, in contemporary mottled calf, blind ruled filet to covers, spine gilt in compartments with red morocco label lettered in gilt, slightly worn at extremities, top of front joint cracking, blue marbled endpapers, pink silk marker, blue marbled edges, from the library of Claude Lebédel.

A virulent satire against church and state, this work, first published in 1752, was seized on publication and the author was imprisoned in the Bastille. Written in the form of La Bruyère’s Caractères, the most outrageous attacks are on the Dauphin and the King himself but the work is far-reaching in the savagery with which swathes of society, including actors, bankers, magistrates, bishops and aristocrats, are targetted. Many leading figures are lampooned: Maupeou, who is ridiculed on account of his tyrannic wife, Helvetius, Samuel Bernard, the Duc de Richelieu, the Marquise de Pompadour and Quénay all fall under Génard’s ruthless satire.
The dedication is to 'la vertueuse et aimable mademoiselle F...L.D.', ie Françoise Le Duc. It is signed De Gran, which is of course an anagram of Genard. The first part has a lengthy and comic introduction entitled 'idée de l'auteur', in which Genard sketches the state of current literature and his chosen place within it. 'On a travaillé ici à tenter tous les goûts, à instruire tous les états, & à enlever le brut de tous les sentimens. Morale pure & délicate; critique fine & sans aigreur, Anecdotes curieuses & sans calomnie. Chacun doit y trouver de quoi lui plaire: car qui n'aime à s'instruire des vices d'autrui, & à les paraphraser?' (idée de l'auteur, p. xvii). Each of the three parts of the work have a 'Clef Naturelle' to the identity of the characters mentioned or satirised in the text.
Genard's work became extremely popular and was republished several times in French between 1752 and 1759. An English translation, The School of Man, a Moral, Critical and Anecdotal Work appeared in 1753 and ran to at least five editions. Genard also wrote a companion volume L'Ecole de la Femme, while he was in exile in Holland after his release from the Bastille. This was translated into English as The School of Woman: or, memoirs of Constantia. Addressed to the Duchess of ***, London 1753. Both works have also been attributed to Dupuis, a soldier in the guards, though Cioranescu thinks this is doubtful.

See Cioranescu 30577; Quérard III, 302; Darnton 182.

OCLC lists Wuerzburg and Lyon only.

Keywords: Continental Books
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