Amusemens des eaux de Passy by LA SOLLE, Henri Francois,…

Amusemens des eaux de Passy by LA SOLLE, Henri Francois, Marquis de (d. 1761).
  • Another image of Amusemens des eaux de Passy by LA SOLLE, Henri Francois, Marquis de (d. 1761).
  • Another image of Amusemens des eaux de Passy by LA SOLLE, Henri Francois, Marquis de (d. 1761).
  • Another image of Amusemens des eaux de Passy by LA SOLLE, Henri Francois, Marquis de (d. 1761).
LA SOLLE, Henri Francois, Marquis de (d. 1761).

Amusemens des eaux de Passy par M. Lasolle, Auteur des Mémoires de Versorand. Tome Premier [-Troisième]. Paris, Poinçot, 1787.

First Edition. Three volumes, 12mo, (178 x 110 mm), pp. [xx], 368 (final leaves misbound), [4] contents, approbation & privilege, 4 advertisements; [iv], 514; [iv]; 423; advertisements printed on verso of half-title of volume one, uncut throughout, a lovely unsophisticated copy in the original (faded) blue paper wrappers, printer’s waste used as pastedowns, pages a little dog-eared, faded white paper labels on spines, lettered in ink, small shelfmark labels at foot of spines.

A lovely copy of La Solle’s loosely entwined collection of short stories. A fairly traditional construct, La Solle’s ‘novel’ features three friends, one of whom is sent there for his health, rent a house at Passy and occupy themselves by telling each other stories. There is, however, a particular piquancy in the juxtaposition of the three characters: the narrator, the patient and the patient’s wife. The patient, Monsieur Dursilly, is a distinguished soldier of fifty-two who has been sent to Passy becaue of health problems caused by thirty-five years of soldiering and six months of marriage. His wife is young and pretty. The narrator is invited to Passy by the husband and persuaded to go by the wife. ‘Je connoissois tous mes torts. J’avois vu les défauts de Madame Dursilly en même tems que sa beauté. Je voulois en faire ma maitresse, & non pas mon amie’ (p. 77).
The first tale to be narrated is found in a heap of papers by the roadside and picked up by the narrator. It is a Conte Moral, with the legend: ‘Quand on a perdu sans ressource l’objet d’une passion heureuse & constante, il ne faut plus prétendre aux vrais plaisirs ni au bonheur’, (I, 9-73). Other stories follow, some narrated by the many new acquaintances made in Passy, some by our three central characters. There are also short fictions by way of essays on different subjects, such as: ‘Question Galante. Doit-on préférer la mort de l’objet aimé à son infidélité? (II, 273-292), ‘Pensées sur les Plaisirs’ (III, 38-102) and ‘Comme quoi une jeune personne entre dans le monde par la mauvaise porte’ (II, 396-435).
Based on the more famous Amusemens des Eaux de Spa, La Solle has made a few changes, such as limiting the geographical descriptions before they become boring: ‘Il est juste de faire connoitre ses acteurs, & le lieu de la Scene; mais ces fortes de détails ne doivent être que préliminaires; quand ils reviennent dans le cours de l’action principale, ils en dérangent la marche, & réfroidissent les événemens...’ (p. ix).
La Solle's novel mentioned on the title-page, Mémoires de Versorand, was translated into English by John Hill as Memoirs of a Man of Pleasure, London 1751. He also wrote the rather enticingly titled novel, Bok et Zulba, histoire allegorique traduite du portugais de Don Aurel Eniner, 1740. Another edition of the present novel was published in Paris & Lausanne, 1789. La Solle committed suicide in Paris in 1761.

OCLC lists BN, BL, Cambridge, Zurich and the Harold B. Lee Library.

MMF 87.51; Cioranescu 37327.

Keywords: Continental Books
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