Mémoires historiques de Jeanne Gomart de Vaubernier by GUÉNARD, Élisabeth,…

GUÉNARD, Élisabeth, baronne de Brossin de Méré (1751-1829).
FAVROLLE, Monsieur de, pseud.

Mémoires historiques de Jeanne Gomart de Vaubernier Comtesse Dubarry, dernière maîtresse de Louis XV; Redigés sur des Pièces authentiques... Par M. de Favrolle. Tome Premier [-Quatrième]. Paris, Lerouge, 1803.

First Edition. Four volumes in two, 8vo (165 x 95 mm), engraved frontispiece portrait by Bovinet and pp. [iv], 200; [iv], 227; [iv], 234; [iv], 280, some dampstaining, occasionally quite intrusive, paper generally fairly browned, in later full red morocco, triple gilt fillet to covers, spines gilt in compartments, lettered and numbered in gilt, endpapers marbled in a blue and gold, gilt dentelles, gilt edges, with some wear to covers.

A scarce and sympathetic biographical portrait of Jeanne Bécu, Comtesse du Barry (1743-1793), by the prolific novelist Élisabeth Guénard, writing under the pseudonym Monsieur de Favrolle. The author of some fifty popular novels published in the first two decades of the century, Guénard’s fiction is marked by her moral conservatism, religious overtones and monarchism. However, the present work is one of half a dozen works of very different character in which she chose to hide her identity writing under pseudonyms such as the present ‘Monsieur de Favrolle’ (elsewhere ‘Faverolles, ancien officier de cavalerie’) or the less specific ‘A.L. Boissy’ and ‘J.H.F. Geller’. In contrast to her novels, the works written under pseudonyms contain more scurrilous material and are written with a more libertine and frivolous approach. It is no surprise, therefore, that she should have chosen to publish this biography of the infamous Comtesse du Barry under one of her pseudonyms. A late addition to the multifarious portraits of Madame du Barry, Guénard’s account of her life is, however, one of the least scurrilous and is generally thought to be one of the most historically reliable of the near contemporary accounts.

OCLC lists BL, NLS, Morgan, Harvard and Johns Hopkins as well as the BN and a handful of copies in continental Europe.

Gay III, 171.

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