Il Saggio nella Solitudine. Imitato in parte dall’ opera dell’ Young che porta lo stesso titolo. Dal signor abate Pey Canonico della Chiesa di Parigi. Tradotto dal Franzese da Madamigella ****. Fermo, dai Torchi di Pallade, 1789.
First Edition in Italian. 8vo (156 x 100 mm), pp. xiv, [ii], 127, some light browning in text but generally a good, unsophisticated copy, in the original red and yellow patterned paper wrappers, spine reinforced (not recently) with speckled paper, top and bottom of spine cracking, binding a little delicate, light marginal dampstaining on the preliminary leaves, small wormholes on the front pastedown and just into the gutter of the title, with the ownership inscription of Luigi Carrodori on the title and an inscription and shelf-mark on the front pastedown.
The scarce first edition of this translation into Italian by an unknown female writer, ‘Madamigella ****’, of Jean Pey’s reworking of Young’s Night Thoughts, first published as Le Sage dans la solitude, Paris, Guillot, 1787. Pey’s original preface is included (in Italian), in which he explains the process of his translation and of how his original intention of presenting a simple translation came by degrees to be an almost entirely new composition, as he found passages that needed to be suppressed or remade, leaving little of the original work. He therefore decided ‘to make a new work, keeping the same titles, the same tone, and more or less the same order, inserting several passages [of Young’s] that seemed to merit inclusion’. Other prefatory material includes an editor’s note to the reader, speaking of the ‘cultured lady’ who made the translation in her ‘idle hours’, a letter from the lady accompanying her translation and two other letters written in response.
Jean Pey was a canon at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris who wrote a number of popular devotional works as well as several works of apologetics. As stated above, Pey has retained Young’s format for the present series of devotions, which comprise twelve meditations on spiritual subjects: God as eternal, omnipotent, God the creator, God as infinitely wise. Also as in Young’s original, the work is presented in two aspects, that of wakefulness and that of sleep. The female translator of the present work remains unidentified.
FirstSearch notes an earlier Italian translation by Lodovico Antonio Loschi, Il savio in solitudine, 1783, which it claims to be a translation of Pey’s work. However, the text of Loschi’s version is entirely different to the present work, which seems to be a direct translation of Le Sage dans la Solitude, ou Meditations religieuses sur divers sujets, par l’Auteur des Nuits d’Young, Londres 1771. As well as the different subtitle, this earlier French version does not have Pey’s name on the title-page and it seems likely that the FirstSearch attribution is erroneous.
OCLC lists BL and the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Rome only.