Mémoires d’une Religieuse, by LONGCHAMPS, Pierre Charpentier, l’abbé de (1740-1812).

Mémoires d’une Religieuse, by LONGCHAMPS, Pierre Charpentier, l’abbé de (1740-1812). < >
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‘Il y a plus d’amour charnel que d’amour religieux dans ce roman tout profane’.
LONGCHAMPS, Pierre Charpentier, l’abbé de (1740-1812).

Mémoires d’une Religieuse, Ecrits par Elle-Même; et recueillis par M. de L... Première [-Seconde] Partie. Amsterdam, l’Esclapart & la Veuve Duchesne, 1766.

First Edition. Two volumes in one, 12mo (160 x 89 mm), pp. [iv], xii, 208; [iv], 208, with the half-titles, markings from previous wrappers visible on half-titles, in nineteenth century quarter calf over marbled boards, spines simply decorated in gilt, red and black morocco labels lettered and numbered in gilt, marbled edges, green silk markers, with a slightly later inscription on the front endpaper (perhaps contemporary with the binding) about the nature of the text and its authorship (see below).

Scarce first edition of these false nun’s memoirs, purportedly written by herself, but in fact penned by a cleric, Pierre Charpentier de Longchamps, member of the Académie de la Rochelle. The novel is a tale brimming with intrigue in which the misfortunes and romantic adventures of a young girl are narrated with some gusto. At the end of it all, the heroine undergoes a conversion and becomes a nun.
It was later republished under the title La soeur Adélaïde, ses égaremens et ses vertus, ses foiblesses et son repentir, ouvrage posthume du plus éloquent écrivain de ce siècle, ‘Au Paraclet’, 1785. The reference to the ‘plus éloquent écrivain de ce siècle’ on the title page was intended to pass the work off as if by Rousseau, no doubt to cash in on his saleability (see Barbier IV 508, 'on a voulu passer cet ouvrage comme etant de J.J. Rousseau').
A previous owner has made the following observation in a neat hand: ‘il est assez singulier qu’un ecclésiastique, l’abbé de Longchamps, membre de l’Académie de la Rochelle, ait composé, avec un soin complaisant, ce roman d’amour, dont quelques tableaux sont d’une grande nudité’.

MMF 66.31; Gay III, 154 (giving 1725, which MMF suggest is an error for the 1785 edition); Cioranescu 40816.

OCLC lists Maryland, Texas and BN (Marie Antoinette’s copy).

Keywords: Continental Books
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