L'Ecumoire, by CREBILLON, Claude-Prosper Jolyot de (1701-1777).

CREBILLON, Claude-Prosper Jolyot de (1701-1777).

L'Ecumoire, Histoire Japonoise. Par Mr. de Crebillon le FIls. 1735

Two volumes in one, 12mo (130 x 80 mm), engraved frontispiece signed L.F.D.B. repeated in each volume (as required) and pp. [ii], xviii, [iv], 208; [vi], 328, title-pages in red and black, in contemporary calf, spine gilt in compartments with orange morocco label lettered in gilt, fairly worn with staining to covers, spine splitting a little down the centre, but still very much holding, marbled rear pastedown, red edges, Leipzig University stamp cancelled, with the later booklabel of Fedor v. Zobeltitz and pictorial bookplate of Robert J. Hayhurst and with the early manuscript note ‘edition extrem. rare’.

An early edition of this popular satirical and licentious novel which was first published under the title Tanzai et Neadarne, Histoire Japonoise, printed in ‘Pekin’, or Paris, in 1734. The narrative provides a thinly veiled satire on the Cardinal de Rohan and the Duchesse de Maine. It tells of the love story between Prince Tanzaï and Princess Néardarné. L’ecumoire, or Tanzaï et Néadarné, was widely criticised as a shocking demonstration of political and social criticism, and Crebillon was publicly shamed for being irreligious for, as well as criticising Cardinal Rohan, the novel is seen as an attack on the papal bull Ugenitis. Following the publication, Crebillon was imprisoned briefly in Vincennes. Despite this, the novel’s popularity gained him admittance to the salons of Paris. Orientalism was becoming very popular, and the libertine values and personal attacks found a ready audience in pre-revolutionary Paris.

See Cioranescu 21739; Jones p. 52 (also p. 51 for an edition, possibly spurious, of 1733); Gay II, 68; Cohen-de Ricci p. 266.

Keywords: Continental Books
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