Les Cinquantes Francs de Jeannette. Paris, Le Prieur, 1799.
First Edition. Two volumes, 8vo (160 x 100 mm), engraved frontispiece to each volume and pp. xiii, [i], -251, ; [ii], -251, , wanting the half-title to the second volume, the half title to the first volume torn and creased, with a contemporary manuscript label tipped in ‘M. Roger, B.M.R.’, in contemporary quarter calf over yellow speckled boards, flat spines simply ruled and decorated in gilt, orange and green morocco labels lettered and numbered in gilt, speckled edges, with the pictorial bookplate of Robert J. Hayhurst in the first volume.
A scarce novel which charts the misfortunes of a foundling child who is adopted by a charitable woman. Written for a young adult audience, it combines an exciting story line with a moral message rooted in the joys of nature and the strength of innocence. This was the tenth novel to appear in the 1790s by Ducray-Duminil, a prolific novelist whose best-selling fiction was the mainstay of publisher Pierre-Sebastien Leprieur though the challenging years of the Revolution. Prose fiction was a safer option for a publisher than politics or philosophy and it seemed to be met with an ever increasing demand from the public. Although figures such as Ginguené, the director of the Commission on Public Instruction and Villebrune, the head of the Bibliothèque Nationale, condemned these novels as infecting the minds of citizens with idle pleasures, Ducray-Duminil’s easy reading prose fiction was avidly read throughout France and abroad. Many of his works were translated into English although this one does not appear to have been, though it was translated into German by Karl Ludwig Methusalem Müller and published under the title Nettchens fünfzig Franken, Leipzig, Martini, circa 1800.
OCLC lists BL, Leipzig and California State University.