Saint Julien; by LAFONTAINE, August Heinrich Julius (1758-1831).

LAFONTAINE, August Heinrich Julius (1758-1831).

Saint Julien; From the German of Augustain La Fontaine. With Additional Notes, Historical and Explanatory. Cork, J. Haley, M. Harris & J. Connor, 1799.

First Irish Edition. Two volumes in one, 12mo (180 x 110 mm), pp. [ii], 143, [1]; 128, [2] advertisements, marginal tear I, N3 with loss but not touching text and tear along the outside edge of II, K2 (probably original paper fault), with no loss to text, some browning, in contemporary mottled calf, surface abrasion to the leather, flat spine simply ruled in gilt with red morocco label lettered in gilt, the title-page inscribed ‘Fran Lipping’.

First and only Irish edition of this scarce translation of La Fontaine’s Familie Saint Julien, which follows the life and misfortunes of an émigré from the French revolution. La Fontaine’s novel formed the third volume of his Familiengeschichten, a collection of loosely linked novels published in Berlin in eleven volumes between 1797 and 1804. Two rival English translations were published, the first under the title Saint Julien; or, Memoirs of a Father, London, J. Bell, 1798 and the second, ‘copiously and accurately translated’, was published by William Lane at the Minerva Press in 1799. This Cork edition uses the Minerva Press translation, which claimed to be greatly superior to ‘any other copy which may be obtruded on [the public’s] judgement... The translator has closely followed the German Original; the story is copiously and accurately told, without any abbreviation or mutilation; its language improved, where the idiom of the German required, and made soft to the English ear’ (see GR&W).
‘This Work has been read in France with uncommon avidity, - Switzerland put it into the hands of her children, - Germany idolized it, - the whole Continent admires the genius, the language, the pathos... the misfortunes of a single family... have awakened the compassion even of Parisians... Let him who prefers philosophy to piety, - public crimes to domestic affections, - plunder to property, - massacre to protection, - let him read SAINT JULIEN. Saint Julien may be used as the common appellation for all the suffering wretches whom France brands with the name of Emigrants... Read, my countrymen, - read, and you must feel, - feel, and you must curse the effects of modern, enlightened, impracticable Liberty’ (Introduction to the Minerva Press edition, not included in this Cork edition).
‘This is a tale of some interest founded on the domestic calamities produced by the French revolution. The Shandean traits of character in the beginning of the story would better have been omitted, as they are neither preserved nor remembered as the story proceeds’ (Critical Review, June 1799).
Another of the Lafontaine family tales was translated into English and published as The Family of Halden, London, J. Bell, 1799.
The Minerva Press original of this translation is scarce, with only the BL and Virginia listed in ESTC and NLS, Yale, Minnesota and Queensland added by OCLC. The Bell translation similarly scarce, with ESTC and OCLC listing copies at BL, Bodleian, Syracuse, UCLA and Illinois.

See Blakey p. 191;Hardy 549; Block p. 131; Garside, Raven & Schöwerling 1798:37 for a detailed account of the English editions and translations; this Dublin edition not listed.

ESTC n36242 lists BL, NLI and Harvard only; OCLC adds Cork, Samford and Missouri-Columbia.

Keywords: English Literature
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