Mémoires de Monsieur le Duc de S. Simon, ou l’Observateur Véridique, sur le Règne de Louis XIV, & sur les premières époques des Règnes suivans. Tome Premier [-Troisième]. ‘Londres’ & Paris, Buisson and Marseilles, Mossy, 1788.
Three volumes, 8vo (196 x 110 mm), pp. [ii], 396 (last gathering misbound); [ii], 332; [ii], 379, in contemporary quarter calf over speckled boards, rather worn, joints slightly cracking, head and tails of spines chipped, spines gilt in compartments with brown morocco labels lettered and numbered in gilt, with the ownership inscription of M. l’Abbé du Vausset in the first volume.
A compilation of material edited by Jean-Louis Giraud de Soulavie and taken from Saint Simon’s Pièces interessantes, published in eight volumes between 1781 and 1790, and the three volume Galerie de l’ancienne Cour, 1786. A fourth volume of supplementary material was added in 1789, not present here. In this set, the first volume is reissued with a cancel title-page which has Buisson’s address as ‘Librairie Hôtel de Coetlosquet, rue Hautefeu ille [sic], No. 20 près la rue des Cordeliers’.
Saint Simon’s celebrated Mémoires, ‘one of the most original monuments of French literature’, were principally written between 1740 and 1746, long after he retired from public life. The sparkling wit and complete freedom from restraint of the memoirs - Saint Simon allows his personal hatreds free reign and writes violently against the ‘leprosy’ of equality - make them an enjoyable read as well as being an important, if not altogether impartial, source of information.
I: ESTC t148527; II-III: ESTC t147797; Coirault-Formel, Bibliographie de Saint-Simon, p. 266.