Les Hochets Moraux ou Contes; by MONGET (Mr.)


Les Hochets Moraux ou Contes; pour La Premier Enfance. Ouvrage orné de Seize Gravures. London, Didier & Tebbett, 1806.

First English Edition. 12mo (130 x 850 mm), engraved frontispiece and pp [iii]-xii, [2], [21]- 125, fifteen further engraved plates, one plate (the sole landscape one, depicting a duel, shaved close at the top and mounted), all plates a little browned in the margins, two small tears to corners of pages, p. 63 and p. 91, with marginal loss but not touching text, one small and fairly ugly tear through the text, p. 77, repaired but rather badly, with some loss of sense on the verso, in contemporary half-calf over patterned boards, spine simply ruled and lettered and gilt in compartment with sunburst tooling, slightly later ownership inscription ‘Edward A.J. Harris, May 20th 1814’ and the Robert J. Hayhurst bookplate.

A delightful illustrated set of sixteen moral tales in verse written for the use of children. The majority are cautionary tales, warning children against the bad effects of indiscretion, jealousy, anger, curiosity, obstinacy and presumption. Each of the tales is followed by an explicatory moral, also in verse, and a delightful, slightly naive, engraved plate. Alongside the cautionary tales are verse tales depicting the value of value of various virtues such as gratitude and the careful use of talents, also tales of birth and circumstance and a dialogue between a governess, her pupil and a gardener.
In his preface, the ‘editor’ discusses his interest in children’s education and the importance of combining clarity and simplicity in the text with a message that is easy for a child to remember. He adds that it is this work’s success in the early editions in France that has persuaded him to offer it to the young people of England. A second preface, by the author, warns against the fables of La Fontaine as the earliest education for young children and explains that he has created these first tales - ‘of which many more are needed’, he grants - in order to present the ‘measure of morality’ without resorting to the world of fairyland.
First published in Paris in 1781, this was a popular work in France; it was also reprinted by the Walther brothers in Dresden, 1790.

Keywords: Continental Books
Print this page View basket Price: £350.00