La Cacomonade: by LINGUET, Simon-Nicolas Henri (1736-1794).

LINGUET, Simon-Nicolas Henri (1736-1794).

La Cacomonade: Histoire Politique et Morale, traduite de l'Allemand du Docteur Pangloss, par le Docteur lui-même, depuis son retour de Constantinople. Cologne, ie Paris, 1766.

First Edition. 12mo (184 x 110 mm), pp. [iv], [vii-xxiii], [1], 120, first (blank) adhering to upper wrapper, uncut throughout in the original drab wrappers, paper label on spine and paper shelf mark, both labelled in ink.

An excellent unsophisticated copy of this satirical treatise on syphilis (the ‘cacomonade’), inspired by the fourth chapter of Voltaire’s Candide. The work is a facetious history of syphilis from its introduction into Europe from America through to its prevalence in France in the eighteenth century. Whimsical reflections on the philosophical causes of syphilis are included, with a discussion of its presence among the ancients and the proposition that it may have been included among the sufferings of Job. Chapter VII contains the famous ‘Statuts données à un Couvent de Filles à Avignon, par la Reine Jeanne première’, with the text printed in parallel text giving the original Provençal and French, which argued for an end to prostitution through the establishment of a house of pleasure. The Statutes were for some time quoted as sound historical sources, but, according to Gay, were the invention of a group of Avignon citizens who composed them in archaic language and sent them to a Dr Astruc (d.1766), who believed in their authenticity and printed them.
‘Jusqu'en 1825, la Cacomonade n'a été considérée que comme une facétie inoffensive, ce qu'elle est réellement; mais, à cette époque, un jugement de la police correctionnelle à Paris, l'a flétrie comme outrageant les moeurs... Nous signalerons aussi une pièce curieuse contenue dans ce petit ouvrage, ce sont les statuts donnés par la reine Jeanne à un couvent de filles à Avignon, statuts qui ont été, à diverses reprises, cités comme sérieux par les auteurs graves’ (Gay I, 446).

Cioranescu 40526; BN Voltaire Catalogue 2759; Gay I:445-47; Quérard, La France Littéraire, 316.

Keywords: Continental Books
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