- Tag = Continental Books
Amusemens des eaux de Passy
par M. Lasolle, Auteur des Mémoires de Versorand. Tome Premier [-Troisième].
Paris, Poinçot, 1787.
First Edition.12 Three volumes, 12mo, (178 x 110 mm), pp. [xx], 368 (final leaves misbound),  contents, approbation & privilege, 4 advertisements; [iv], 514; [iv]; 423; advertisements printed on verso of half-title of volume one, uncut throughout, a lovely unsophisticated copy in the original (faded) blue paper wrappers, printer’s waste used as pastedowns, pages a little dog-eared, faded white paper labels on spines, lettered in ink, small shelfmark labels at foot of spines.
A lovely copy of La Solle’s loosely entwined collection of short stories. A fairly traditional construct, La Solle’s ‘novel’ features three friends, one of whom… (more)
A lovely copy of La Solle’s loosely entwined collection of short stories. A fairly traditional construct, La Solle’s ‘novel’ features three friends, one of whom is sent there for his health, rent a house at Passy and occupy themselves by telling each other stories. There is, however, a particular piquancy in the juxtaposition of the three characters: the narrator, the patient and the patient’s wife. The patient, Monsieur Dursilly, is a distinguished soldier of fifty-two who has been sent to Passy becaue of health problems caused by thirty-five years of soldiering and six months of marriage. His wife is young and pretty. The narrator is invited to Passy by the husband and persuaded to go by the wife. ‘Je connoissois tous mes torts. J’avois vu les défauts de Madame Dursilly en même tems que sa beauté. Je voulois en faire ma maitresse, & non pas mon amie’ (p. 77).
The first tale to be narrated is found in a heap of papers by the roadside and picked up by the narrator. It is a Conte Moral, with the legend: ‘Quand on a perdu sans ressource l’objet d’une passion heureuse & constante, il ne faut plus prétendre aux vrais plaisirs ni au bonheur’, (I, 9-73). Other stories follow, some narrated by the many new acquaintances made in Passy, some by our three central characters. There are also short fictions by way of essays on different subjects, such as: ‘Question Galante. Doit-on préférer la mort de l’objet aimé à son infidélité? (II, 273-292), ‘Pensées sur les Plaisirs’ (III, 38-102) and ‘Comme quoi une jeune personne entre dans le monde par la mauvaise porte’ (II, 396-435).
Based on the more famous Amusemens des Eaux de Spa, La Solle has made a few changes, such as limiting the geographical descriptions before they become boring: ‘Il est juste de faire connoitre ses acteurs, & le lieu de la Scene; mais ces fortes de détails ne doivent être que préliminaires; quand ils reviennent dans le cours de l’action principale, ils en dérangent la marche, & réfroidissent les événemens...’ (p. ix).
La Solle's novel mentioned on the title-page, Mémoires de Versorand, was translated into English by John Hill as Memoirs of a Man of Pleasure, London 1751. He also wrote the rather enticingly titled novel, Bok et Zulba, histoire allegorique traduite du portugais de Don Aurel Eniner, 1740. Another edition of the present novel was published in Paris & Lausanne, 1789. La Solle committed suicide in Paris in 1761.
OCLC lists BN, BL, Cambridge, Zurich and the Harold B. Lee Library.
MMF 87.51; Cioranescu 37327.More details Price: £1,200.00
Angola, Histoire Indienne;
Ouvrage sans vraisemblance. I. [-II] Partie.
‘Agra’, the Grand-Mogol, ie Paris, 1746.
First Edition. 12mo, (162 x 92 mm), pp. [ii], 20, [vi], 162; [iv], 199, in contemporary calf, rebacked retaining the original spine, red morocco label lettered in gilt, spine gilt in compartments, marbled endpapers, red edges.
First edition of this famous satire on Paris society, ‘chef d'œuvre de la littérature galante’ and one of the best-sellers of pre-Revolutionary France. Set in… (more)
First edition of this famous satire on Paris society, ‘chef d'œuvre de la littérature galante’ and one of the best-sellers of pre-Revolutionary France. Set in the exotic Indies, where La Morlière creates an imaginary and fantastical world, the nature of which allows him great scope in satirising contemporary French society. The novel opens with the marriage of the just king, Erzeb-can, to Princess Arsenide, a relation of the Fée Lumineuse, queen of a neighbouring nation. It is their son, Angola, the eponymous hero, whose adventures during his travels through the Indies and Arabia make up the body of the narrative. Edouard Thiery called this novel 'le miroir du siècle, le livre des jolies boudoirs, le manuel charmant de la conversation à la mode'. The dedication, bound as usual after the preface and the contents, is addressed ‘aux petites maitresses’ and sets the tone for the ‘free and licencious’ spirit of the text. By far the most successful of La Morlière’s works, it ran to numerous editions throughout the eighteenth century, with at least ten further ‘Agra’ printings in the decade following publication.
‘The reader is continually invited to laugh mockingly at the frivolity of a world where only fashion reigns. La Morlière’s characters exist as functions of their pleasures: the theater, the opera, receptions, reading, hunting, gambling, and - above and before all else - the dynamics and delights of the bedroom. While the narration of these pleasures can never be the equivalent of experiencing them, what La Morlière does offer is a diction of flippancy and cynicism that invites his readers to share an assumed superiority to characters whom in most cases they would be delighted to replace; (Thomas M. Kavanagh, Enlightened Pleasures, 2010, p. 32).
Libertine, musketeer, theatrical critic and associate of Voltaire, La Morlière established his headquarters in the Café Procope where a clique of journalists soon formed around him. He was a great operator in the theatrical world, both in the 'Théâtre français' and the 'Comédie italienne', where he was known for the dubious nature of his dealings. However, his theatrical career came to a fairly abrupt end when he thought that by engineering applause in the usual way he could guarantee the success of his own plays, a mistake for which he paid the price of his career.
Cioranescu 36472; Jones p. 92; Gay I:221; Darnton 38; Hartig p. 50.More details Price: £650.00
par le Poëte sans Fard.
Rotterdam, Fritsch and Böhm, 1712.
First Edition. 12mo, (153 x 92mm), engraved frontispiece and pp. xii, 534, folding engraved plate, title page in red and black, in contemporary speckled calf, spine gilt in compartments, slightly worn especially head of spine, red morocco label lettered in gilt, with Lachèvre's book, feather and snake device gilt on the upper cover and his Le Vésinet bookplate (skull and books on table).
Lachèvre's copy of this satirical compilation in verse and prose by François Gacon. The volume also contains 'Recueil des pièces du Sr. Saurin contre Sr.… (more)
Lachèvre's copy of this satirical compilation in verse and prose by François Gacon. The volume also contains 'Recueil des pièces du Sr. Saurin contre Sr. Rousseau', pp. -531. With a folding engraved plate depicting a hearth side scene with a shoemaker's new-born baby and accompanying poem: 'Histoire Veritable et Remarquable, arrivée à l'endroit d'un nommé Roux, fils d'un Cordonnier, lequel aiant renié son Pére, le Diable en prit possession'.
Another edition of the same year, pp. 512, formed the third volume of Les Oeuvres de Sr. Rousseau, Rotterdam, 1712. It was also later published under the title 'Histoire satyrique de la vie et des ouvrages de Mr. Rousseau', Paris 1716.
See Lachèvre, ‘Bibliographie des ouvrages de Gacon’, 1927, in Bulletin du Bibliophile.
Cioranescu 29968 (calling for pp. 512, ie the second edition, see above).More details Price: £400.00
ou de la Divinité.
First Edition. 12mo, (162 x 94), pp. x, 208, preserving the initial blank, the engraved vignette on the title-page and the head- and tail-pieces are unsigned, in contemporary green morocco, unsigned binding, possibly by Thomas Van Os, with elaborate floral tooling to covers, spine gilt in compartments, slightly rubbed, red morocco label lettered in gilt, simple gilt dentelles, marbled endpapers, gilt edges.
A scarce philosophical work by the 'Dutch Socrates', Frans Hemsterhuis, a Dutch aesthete who lavished as much care in the design of his works as… (more)
A scarce philosophical work by the 'Dutch Socrates', Frans Hemsterhuis, a Dutch aesthete who lavished as much care in the design of his works as he did in their composition. He wrote a number of essays and dialogues on moral philosophy which brought him into contact with Goethe, Herder and and his life-long friend, Princess Amalia von Gallitzin, who did much to strengthen his reputation amongst the German intelligentsia and encourage the translation of many of his works. Hemsterhuis' ideas influenced some of the greatest German thinkers, including Kant, Novalis, Schlegel and Schiller.
As with all of Hemsterhuis' works, Aristée was privately printed and distributed. The printing is typically elegant, the text block measuring 93 x 47 mm, a small and dense block of text within wide margins, in the present copy measuring 167 x 96 mm. The elaborate green morocco binding on this copy is probably by Thomas Van Os, a leading binder of the last quarter of the eighteenth century in the Netherlands. Van Os was commissioned by Hemsterhuis to create bindings for some of his later works, alongside Christiaan Micke, who bound so many copies of Hemsterhuis’ earlier works for presentation. Of the two, Van Os is more associated with the flat spin, as here, in addition to which this binding bears many similarities with the two bindings (particularly fig. 7) by Van Os reproduced in Jan Storm van Leeuwen’s article in The Book Collector (see The Book Collector, Summer 2001, figs. 6 and 7, pp. 215-216).
'So, let this stand as a charge to collect Hemsterhuis', writes Roger Stoddard in conclusion, 'to look more closely at his books, to solve their mysteries, and to connect the careful designs of his bookmaking with the philosophical texts they embrace and convey with such eloquence. This is just a way of asking you to leave your place marker here to honour Hemsterhuis who always provided a ribbon place marker in the bindings he commissioned for presentation' (p. 189).
See Roger Eliot Stoddard, 'François Hemsterhuis: Some Uncollected Authors VIII', in The Book Collector, Summer 2001, pp. 186-201; Jan Storm van Leeuwen, 'Frans Hemsterhuis' Binders and some bindings on Lettre sur l'Homme, ibid, pp. 202-216.
Stoddard 9.More details Price: £1,500.00
Avis respectueux et désintéressé à Guillaume V
Prince d’Orange, Stadhouder, Capitaine et Amiral-Général de l’Union; sur le parti à prendre, dans l’état actuel de la République, par Un vrai Ami de la Patrie & de l’Illustre Maison de Nassau-Orange.
‘En Holland’, ie. Leiden, De Does, 1783.
8vo (202 x 115 mm), pp. xvi, 72, in contemporary quarter calf over speckled boards, slim spine gilt in compartments with orange and green morocco labels lettered (’Guillaume V’) and stamped in gilt, a little rubbed at extremities, the Starhemberg copy with the usual stamp and crayon shelf mark on the half-title and with typically lovely patterned endpapers in red and green with cross-hatching and floral strips, red edges.
A scarce libelle against William V, Prince of Orange (1748-1806), the last Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic. François Bernard was a French journalist who spent… (more)
A scarce libelle against William V, Prince of Orange (1748-1806), the last Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic. François Bernard was a French journalist who spent a number of years in Leyden and Amsterdam, where he taught mathematics, geography and French. He became closely involved in the patriotic movement in the Netherlands and was a key member of a group of French writers including Antoine Marie Cerisier and Dumont-Pigalle, who aimed to influence the broader European community on behalf of the anti-Stadtholder faction. Bernard edited the Gazette d’Amsterdam, 1786-1787 and the revolutionary journal, De Batavier, which was published in Dutch. Although written in French, the text of this important libelle was first published in Dutch in a translation by a lawyer named Blom, as Aan zyne doorluchtige hoogheid Willem den Vyfden, Prins van Oranje, 1783. A German translation, Ehrfurchtsvoller und uneigennütziger Rath an Wilhelm, was also published in 1783.
OCLC lists BL, BN, Koninklijke, Berlin, Augsburg, Bamberg, Trinity Dublin and Harvard.
Cioranescu 11370.More details Price: £450.00
Bibliotheque des Amans.
[Odes Erotiques; par M. Sylvain M***. ] A Gnide.
Paris, Veuve Duchesne, 1777.
First Edition. 18mo, (135 x 80 mm), pp. [iv], viii, -212, pagination includes the attractive engraved title page, unsigned but attributed to Marillier and the half-title, which gives the alternative rubric ‘Odes Erotiques’ and supplying the author’s name, in an elegant nineteenth century binding, half green morocco over marbled boards, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, from the library of Claude Lebédel.
An attractive copy, though a nineteenth century binding, of a scarce early publication by Sylvain Marechal. The Bibliothèque des Amans, a compilation of poems celebrating… (more)
An attractive copy, though a nineteenth century binding, of a scarce early publication by Sylvain Marechal. The Bibliothèque des Amans, a compilation of poems celebrating love, consists mainly of 'Odes Erotiques' with a small final section of miscellaneous poems, quatrains, hymns and epitaphs. This is Marechal's second published work, published some seven years after his precocious Bergeries which earned him the nickname of 'Sylvain', the name by which he is known to this day and which is used on the title page of the present work. In the preface, Marechal explains that the volume is not intended to be very big but is long enough to fill just those moments in which Love makes a truce with Pleasure in order to render it more piquant. The miscellany is preceded by an 'Epître aux Femmes' and an 'Envoi' to Madame L.B.D.S.J.; it concludes with a table of verses in which are listed the tunes to which the various poems can be sung.
Includes a poem inspired by events written up in the Gazette de France in Oct. or Nov. 1776. cf. p. 190 (see note in Hollis).
Cioranescu 42496; Cohen-de Ricci coll. 678-679; Gay I 388.More details Price: £800.00
Caroline de Lichtfield.
Par Madame de ***. Publié par le Traducteur de Werther. Tome Premier [-Second].
Londres, Buisson, 1786.
Second Edition; First edition under this title. Two volumes, 12mo (170 x 100mm), pp. [iv], -292; [iv], -257, with half-titles, a lovely copy in contemporary tree-calf, flat spines gilt in compartments with palm trees, red morocco labels lettered and numbered in gilt, with the pictorial bookplate of Robert J. Hayhurst in the first volume.
A handsome copy of the true second edition of his hugely popular and influential novel. First published in Lausanne, ‘aux dépens de l’auteur et chez… (more)
A handsome copy of the true second edition of his hugely popular and influential novel. First published in Lausanne, ‘aux dépens de l’auteur et chez François La-Combe’, 1786, as simply ‘Caroline’, this is the first edition to use the full title under which the novel was subsequently printed and known. Buisson published two more editions in 1786, one designated ‘seconde édition’ (ESTC t136845) which has title-page vignettes of a landscape with trees (volume I) and buildings and a parley of instruments (volume II) and one designated ‘nouvelle édition, avec des corrections considérables’ (ESTC t136846) with title-page vignettes of an a flower (volume I) and two horsemen and a dog (volume II). The present edition, which was probably printed in Paris, is not the same as ESTC n42696, with its fruit basket title-page ornament and probable manuscript asterisks, but both title pages have the same small vignette, of a garlanded cherub on fronds and the asterisks on the title-page are printed. The translator of Werther, as mentioned on the title-page, is Jacques Georges Deyverdun.
Countless editions were published, in French and English: ESTC lists eight editions of the French text published under British imprints. Most of these imprints are false but they do include some piracies which would be genuine London printings using spurious Paris printers’ names. MMF list 16 editions of the French text between 1786 and 1828. Thomas Holcroft translated the novel into English and his version was treated with critical acclaim. Samuel Babcock in the Monthly Review wrote: ‘In this beautiful and interesting novel, the lights and shades of character are blended with great ingenuity: and in every part of it we discover the hand of an elegant and skilful artist. With wonderful energy and address, the Authoress unfolds the secret springs and complex movements of the human heart; and so forcibly are the different feelings that agitate the soul, delineated by her magic pencil, that they strongly awaken the sympathy of the reader, and interest him in the distress of the story’ (March 1787, pp. 265-266, see Raven & co., 1786:34).
Not in ESTC; see MMF 86.52; see Cioranescu 47072-47076.
sur les Oeuvres de l’Auteur de l’Henriade, &c. Avec les Piéces originales & les preuves.
Basle, Héritiers de Paul Duker, 1776.
First Edition. 8vo, (193 x 115mm), pp. iv, 282, in contemporary mottled calf, flat spine gilt in compartments, yellow and red morocco labels lettered in gilt.
An important source for information on Voltaire’s life, the Commentaire Historique was published when Voltaire was eighty-two. Written in the third person, it was dictated… (more)
An important source for information on Voltaire’s life, the Commentaire Historique was published when Voltaire was eighty-two. Written in the third person, it was dictated by Voltaire to his secretary, Jean-Louis Wagnière. It is the first autobiography of an author to be published in his lifetime: ‘Jamais encore on n’avait vu une “histoire d’auteur” écrite par l’auteur lui même, et publiée de son vivant’ (André Magnan, Dictionnaire Voltaire, p. 293). Some fifteen years earlier, Voltaire had left unfinished his Mémoires which contained a brief sketch of the main events of his life, but these were not published until 1784.
Unlike Rousseau, Voltaire is very sketchy on his early life. No mention is made of his time in the Bastille or of his exile and there is only a little information on his stay in Prussia. The main focus of the book is on the last twenty years spent at Ferney and on his stand as the herald of human rights. His actions during the Calas and La Barre affairs are well documented as are his various stands against intolerance, superstition and injustice, such as abusive clerical taxation and the selling of state functions. He claims to have abandoned the power and influence derived from acquaintance with the Royal Court in favour of the power of public opinion. He makes a very interesting case for the militant intellectual as a counter-power to the establishment.
The letters which form the second part of this work are of particular significance. Chosen by Voltaire, and in some cases printed with the replies, they include correspondence to and from Linguet, Horace Walpole, Hamilton, Chesterfield and Caylus.
Cioranescu 64527; BN Voltaire Catalogue 4350.
Londres, ie. Geneva, 1771.
First Edition. 8vo (212 x 145 mm), pp. [viii], 381, , uncut throughout and partly unopened, in the original blue wrappers, some light browning, considerably worn to extremities and spine but cords holding and part of the spine preserved, an unsophisticated copy with generous margins, with a colour postcard bookmark dated 1822, without free endpapers, printer’s waste used for the pastedowns, with a section of reverse calligraphy on the front pastedown.
The scarce first edition of this anti-enlightenment novel by the Geneva pastor Jacob Vernes, friend and correspondent of Rousseau and Voltaire. Vernes was a frequent… (more)
The scarce first edition of this anti-enlightenment novel by the Geneva pastor Jacob Vernes, friend and correspondent of Rousseau and Voltaire. Vernes was a frequent visitor to Ferney and Voltaire welcomed Vernes’ unorthodox approach to religion. Despite their friendship, however, this epistolary novel is a direct attack on Voltaire and the philosophes. The novel emphasises the shallowness of enlightenment ideas and the moral duplicity of their exponents. The anti-hero is a Parisian philosopher, brimming with charm and enlightenment, who takes as a student a pious married woman. Systematically he persuades her of the errors of her Christian faith and as she replaces it with his philosophy, she abandons all the principles of her life that had been grounded in it. Finally, she abandons her family and friends, becomes his lover and gives herself up to a life of dissipation and gambling.
Vernes’ novel struck a chord: it became a best-seller in France, where it saw five pre-Revolutionary editions and was also very popular in England, where at least three editions were published, and the Netherlands. MMF notes that several of the later editions that claim to be ‘augmentées’, have almost nothing new in them but have had the order of the letters rearranged. Clever trick.
OCLC records a number of copies in France, and BL, NLS, Leeds, Texas, Princeton, Minnesota, Illinois, Delaware and UCLA.
MMF 71.42.More details Price: £950.00
Contes Philosophiques et Moraux.
Par M. de la Dixmerie. Tome Premier [- Second].
Londres & Paris, Duchesne, 1765.
First Edition. Two volumes, 12mo, (165 x 90 mm), engraved frontispiece, by Danzel after Larrieu, to the 1st volume and pp. [xx], 360; [iv], 360, frequently misnumbered, in contemporary marbled calf, spines with raised bands gilt in compartments, red and brown morocco labels lettered and numbered in gilt, marbled endpapers, red edges.
The scarce first edition of a collection of short stories and moral tales by this prolific journalist and writer of fiction across multiple genres. He… (more)
The scarce first edition of a collection of short stories and moral tales by this prolific journalist and writer of fiction across multiple genres. He began his career by collaborating with La Place at the Observateur littéraire from where he was poached by the Mercure in January 1762 in order to supply the place previously held by Marmontel and provide them with short stories: ‘pour la partie des contes dont il a le privilège exclusif, ou du moins en chef’. The majority of the contes included in these volumes were previously published in the Mercure. The selection includes his ‘L’Oracle journalier’, ‘Le Huron réformateur’ and ‘Azakia, anecdote Huronne’, as well as oriental tales, magical stories, moral and historical tales, with settings from Canada to Greece and Persia to the Pyrenees and stories telling of kings and financiers, lovers and philosophers.
An interesting preface, which gives background detail and information on many of the contes, begins by poking fun at ‘le grand mot de philosophie’ as chosen by him for his title: ‘ce mot est devenu comme le passe-port banal de tous les Ouvrages de ce tems. Essais, Pensées, Réflexions, Amusemens, Bagatelles, &c. tout est philosophique, ou promet de l’être. Pourquoi des Contes ne jouiroient-ils pas au moins de ce dernier privilége?’ He also explains that, while the tales may have previously been published, he is here gathering them together and publishing them under his own name. The preface concludes by comparing the conte as a literary form with the architecture of Versailles versus the Château de Marly: ‘Dans le premier Palais tout est grand, mais on risque de se trouver soi-même petit. Dans le second, tout est plus à notre portée; notre existence nous est plus sensible. On se perd dans l’un, on se retrouve dans l’autre’ (I, xx).
One of his earlier works, Bricaire de la Dixmerie went on to write a number of utopias and imaginary voyages such as Le Sauvage de Taiti aux Francçais, avec un envoi au philosophe ami des Sauvages, Londres & Paris, 1770 and L’IÎe taciturne et L’iîe enjouée, ou Voyage du génie Alaciel dans ces deux îles, in Garnier’s Voyages imaginaires, 1787-1798. He was also involved in the production of the Bibliothèque Universelle des Romans.
ESTC t165438, listing Cambridge, Brotherton, Berlin, Corvey, Wisconsin-Madison and Clark.
Cioranescu 13879; MMF 65.17More details Price: £850.00
Des Principes des Négociations,
pour servir d’Introduction au droit public de l’Europe, fondé sur les traités. Par M. l’Abbé de Mably.
‘A La Haye’, ie Paris, 1757.
First Edition. 12mo, (163 x 92 mm) pp. viii, 278, initial blank removed, in contemporary mottled calf, extremities a little worn, spine gilt in compartments with red morocco label lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers, red edges, from the library of Claude Lebédel.
An important work by the celebrated economist, intended as an introduction to a much earlier work, his Droit publique de l’Europe which was published in… (more)
An important work by the celebrated economist, intended as an introduction to a much earlier work, his Droit publique de l’Europe which was published in 1746. ‘His Principes des negociations... was a courageous attack on the foreign policies of the European powers, and a plea for more rational and honest methods, not only for the sake of justice and humanity, but because they are actually profitable’ (Whitfield, Ernest, Gabriel Bonnot De Mably, New York, 1969). In this work he discusses the principles of international trade, modern warfare and the role of ambassadors and diplomacy. Chapter XVII, ‘Des traités de commerce. Digression sur le luxe’, contains a discussion of the theories of David Hume.
An enormously popular writer in his day, Mably is now hailed variously as communist, republican and utopian. ‘Here also is the beginning of the French School of Utopian Communism properly so called’, says George Catlin, emphasising the importance of Mably’s exposition of the doctrine of equality (see George Catlin, A History of Political Philosophers, London, 1950), while Johnson Wright stakes out new ground for Mably as a republican: ‘Mably should be seen as neither a proto-socialist nor a reactionary thinker, but as a republican - a classical republican, in fact, whose writing represents a later Gallic contribution to the political tradition founded by Machiavelli and Harrington. He is not only interesting as the personification of the revolutionary spirit and as a level-headed reformer, but because he formulated principles which have since been either accepted or re-discovered’ (Wright, History of Political Thought, Volume 13, Number 3, 1992, pp. 391-415).
Cioranescu 41170; Tchemerzine VII, 265.
Discours sur la liberté de penser,
par Mr. A. Collins. Traduit de l’Anglois & augmenté d’une Lettre d’un Médecin Arabe; avec l’Examen de ces deux Ouvrages par Mr. de Crouzas. Nouvelle Edition, corrigée. Tome Premier [-Second].
Second Edition; First Collected. Two volumes in one, 8vo, (155 x 90 mm), pp. xii, 256,157-168 (ie 268); viii, 211, B4 and B5 partly loose at the gutter, in contemporary calf, triple gilt filet on the covers, brown morocco labels on the spine lettered and numbered in gilt, flat spine gilt in herringbone pattern, marbled endpapers, red edges, from the library of Claude Lebédel.
The second edition in French of A discourse of free-thinking, occasion’d by the rise and growth of a sect call’d Free-Thinkers, London 1713, by Anthony… (more)
The second edition in French of A discourse of free-thinking, occasion’d by the rise and growth of a sect call’d Free-Thinkers, London 1713, by Anthony Collins, philosopher and thinker, friend and pupil of John Locke and one of the most influential deists of his time. This translation, by Rousset de Missy and Scheurleer, was first published in 1714 and includes the Lettre d’un médecin arabe à un fameux Professseur de l’Université de Hall en Saxe, sur les reproches à fait à Mahomet... traduit à l’arabe, 1713, appended to the 1714 edition printed in the Hague. Also included in this edition is the critical reaction to Collins’ work by Jean-Pierre de Crousaz, Examen du Traité de la liberté de penser, which was first published in Amsterdam in 1718.
At the core of Collins’ argument is his defence of free-thinking as a natural right and a religious duty, for which he used as evidence the many disagreements between the clergy. It was largely this that laid him open to accusations of atheism and using freethinking as a platform for a dangerous self-serving and libertine agenda. The work was publicly burnt in England and provoked dozens of replies including those from Jonathan Swift, Benjamin Hoadly, George Berkeley and Richard Bentley. Collins was forced to leave England for the Netherlands until the controversy died down.
See Cioranescu 57557 & 21911; Quérard II, 253.
Emilie de Varmont,
ou le Divorce Nécessaire, et les Amours du Curé de Sévin, par l'Auteur de Faublas. Tome Premier [-Troisième].
Paris, Bailly, 1791.
First Edition. Three volumes in one, 12mo in sixes, (124 x 75mm), engraved frontispiece by Lorieux after Chaillou to each volume and pp. [iv], -160; [iv], -174; [iv], 191, , occasional light dampstaining, in contemporary quarter green calf over marbled boards with vellum tips, flat spine ruled and decorated in gilt, lettered in gilt, with the contemporary heraldic bookplate of E.W. Wynne Pendarves.
An attractive copy of Louvet de Couvray's novel, with the rare and rather striking frontispieces present in each volume. Uncommon in any state, it is… (more)
An attractive copy of Louvet de Couvray's novel, with the rare and rather striking frontispieces present in each volume. Uncommon in any state, it is particularly hard to find with the plates, which are not mentioned in any of the references noted below but which evidently belong here and greatly add to the dramatic impact of the narrative.
Taking as its subject matter divorce and the marriage of priests, it is a racy tale with forced vocations and amorous adventures. Set in provincial France, it is written as an epistolary novel featuring Dorothée and Emilie de Varmont, Monsieur Bovile and Madame d'Etioles. It had considerable political influence in France, producing two memorable decrees of the National Convention, the one authorising divorce and the other allowing priests to marry. A piracy of the text gave rise to a court case (Dalloz, Jurisprudence générale du royaume, 1830, XI, 481 and note). Further editions appeared in 1792, 1794 and 1815. It was published more recently by the Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, 2001. An English translation was published under the title Emily de Varmont, or Divorce dictated by Necessity, to which are added, the Memoirs of Father Sévin, London, G. Kearsley, 1798 and an American edition, in a translation by Melatiah Nash, was published in New York in 1799 under the title Emilia de Varmont, or the Necessary Divorce, and Memoirs of Curate Sevin: a Moral and Political Tale.
Cioranescu 40897; MMF 91.34; Oberlé 142; Cohen-de Ricci p. 661 (1794 edition).More details Price: £850.00
Essai de Philosophie Morale.
Par M. de Maupertuis.
First Authorised Edition. 12mo, (157 x 92 mm), pp. [ii], xxx, 125, , in contemporary dark mottled calf, extremities a little bumped and some surface wear to the covers, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers and edges, from the library of Claude Lebédel.
This is the first edition of Maupertuis’ scarce philosophical treatise to be published with his consent. The work first appeared in Berlin in 1749, printed… (more)
This is the first edition of Maupertuis’ scarce philosophical treatise to be published with his consent. The work first appeared in Berlin in 1749, printed from a manuscript copy of the text lent to President Hénault and containing numerous errors. The events surrounding this earlier publication and Maupertuis’ own resolution in printing the present official version are explained in the lengthy preface. The work is dedicated to Frédéric II, addressed as, ‘Illustre Ami’, who himself translated Maupertuis’ work.
Written during what was probably the happiest period of his life, when he was living in Berlin and enjoying the close friendship of Frédéric II, the Essai de Philosophie Morale is in effect Maupertuis’ philosophical testament. He examines the nature of good and evil, happiness and unhappiness, pessimism, stoicism, sensuality, pleasure and pain, arguing that in ordinary life the sum of pleasures surpasses the sum of misfortune and suffering. He goes on to explore ways in which the human condition might be improved and discusses the role that religion might play in this.
Cioranescu 43865.More details Price: £600.00
Essai historique et philosophique sur le Goût.
Par M. Cartaud de la Vilate.
12mo, (162 x 90mm), pp. [viii], 327, with the half-title, in contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt in compartments with sun-burst tooling, yellow morocco label lettered in gilt, a few small surface abrasions, red edges, marbled endpapers.
An attractive copy of this scarce essay on aesthetics by the philosopher-priest, Cartaud de la Vilate. In his Pensées critiques sur les mathématiques, 1733, he… (more)
An attractive copy of this scarce essay on aesthetics by the philosopher-priest, Cartaud de la Vilate. In his Pensées critiques sur les mathématiques, 1733, he calls into question the certainties of mathematics and debates its usefulness. His Essai historique et philosophique sur le Goût, which first appeared in an Amsterdam edition of 1736, attracted considerable attention and was several times reprinted, as late as 1970 when Slatkine reprinted it. Grimm said of it: ‘L’auteur est dans un délire continuel. Son style est vif, rapide... marche au hasard’ (DLF, p. 272).
‘L’on peut aisément juger par la façon don [sic] ce livre est écrit, que je l’ai destiné à ces lecteurs distraits & peu sérieux, qui aiment à voltiger sur divers sujets sans trop les approfondir. Le mérite d’amuser cette partie du public, m’a paru de quelque importance. J’ai employé un style propre à ce dessein, où il s’agit de faire éfleurer la littérature à des gens qui n’ont gueres que de l’imagination, & qui l’ont vive’ (Preface).
The work is divided into two parts: the first, which takes up the larger part of the work, is ‘Essais historiques & philosophiques sur le Goût’. The second part is wider-ranging and includes shorter essays, such as ‘Le Goût est-il arbitraire?’, ‘Des fondemens de l’harmonie’, ‘En quoi consiste le géométrique de l’harmonie’ and ‘L’ignorance est-elle plus avantageuse à la politique des princes, que l’étude des lettres?’.
ESTC t101745, at BL, Cambridge, Taylorian; Getty, NYPL, Illinois, Toronto and Yale. OCLC adds Cincinnati.
See Cioranescu 15737.
Essai sur le Caractère, les Mœurs et l’Esprit des Femmes
dans les différens siecles, par M. Thomas, de l’Académie Françoise.
Paris, Moutard, 1772.
First Edition. Four works in one volume, 8vo (188 x 115 mm), engraved frontispiece by Cochin and pp. [iv], 210, ; Boufflers: pp. 26; Voltaire: pp. 12; Voltaire: pp. 11, , in contemporary plain calf, triple gilt filet to covers, flat spine gilt in compartments, morocco label lettered in gilt, marbled blue endpapers and matching blue marbled edges, with the contemporary heraldic bookplate and printed booklabel of M. Ch. Millon de Montherlant.
A good copy of the first edition of Thomas' popular and wide-ranging study of women. He gives the history of concubines, the heroines of Sparta,… (more)
A good copy of the first edition of Thomas' popular and wide-ranging study of women. He gives the history of concubines, the heroines of Sparta, Athenian prostitutes and famous women of the modern era. He examines the influence on women of Christianity and chivalry and compares the different abilities of women and men. Even though in general women he deems women not to be very talented or capable of serious study, nonetheless he does endow them with some qualities. Translated into English as An Essay on the Character, Manners and Genius of Women in different Ages, London 1773, by a Mr. Russell. Another English translation, by Mrs. Kindersley, followed in 1781. More recently, a scholarly edition has been published under the title Qu’est-ce qu’une femme?, Paris, 1989, with commentaries by Diderot and Madame d’Épinay and a preface by Élisabeth Badinter.
Bound after Thomas’ famous essay are three scarce pamphlets:
1. BOUFFLERS, Stanislas-Jean de (1738-1815).
Lettres de M. le Chevalier de Boufflers, pendant son voyage en Suisse, à Madame sa Mère. En Suisse, 1772.
Second edition of this scarce pamphlet first published in 1771. OCLC lists BN, Geneva, Cornell (and BN only of the 1771 edition).
Lettre de M. de V... Sur un écrit anonyme. [s.l. probably Paris or Lyon], 1772.
A scarce edition of Voltaire’s reply to an anonymous pamphlet entitled Réflexions sur la jalousie, pour servir de commentaire aux derniers ouvrages de M. de Voltaire, Amsterdam 1772. The author of the pamphlet has been identified as Charles Georges Leroy. The first edition of Voltaire’s riposte was published ‘à Ferney 20 avril 1772’. With one or two small differences, the text of this edition matches that published in the Mercure in June 1772.
OCLC lists BN, Institut et Musée Voltaire, Toronto and Yale.
BN Voltaire Catalogue 4283; not in Bengesco.
La Bégueule. Conte Moral. [Paris], 1772.
First Edition of Voltaire’s satirical verse conte in which his heroine, bored by her life of luxury, takes a lover to add spice to her life. Famously, this tale contains the first appearance of Voltaire’s phrase ‘le mieux est l’ennemi du bien’.
OCLC lists BL, Institut et Musée Voltaire, NYPL, Yale, Cambridge, Wake Forest and National Library of Australia.
BN Voltaire Catalogue 2082; Bengesco 653.
Cioranescu, 61765; Gay: II: 167.More details Price: £800.00
Roman Pastoral. Par M. de Florian, Capitaine de Dragons, et Gentilhomme de S.A.S. Monseigneur le Duc de Penthièvre, des Académies de Madrid, de Florence, de Lyon, de Nismes, d'Angers, &c...
Paris, l’Imprimerie de Monsieur, Debure, 1788.
Third Edition; Same Year and Imprint as First Edition. 8vo, (119 x 115mm), pp. [ii], 235, , library stamp on the title page but otherwise an excellent copy, sumputously bound in contemporary or slightly later red morocco, floral border within rules to both covers, flat spine simply gilt in compartments with black morocco label lettered in gilt, silk endpapers, gilt dentelles, binding probably contemporary with the presentation inscription on the front free endpaper 'à Père Charvin ainé, de Lyon... 1815'.
A charming copy of one of the most important pastoral novels in French literature, including Florian's introductory essay on the pastoral form. Inspired by Daphnis… (more)
A charming copy of one of the most important pastoral novels in French literature, including Florian's introductory essay on the pastoral form. Inspired by Daphnis and Chloe and set at the end of the fifteenth century, the novel tells of the love of the shepherd Némorin for the beautiful Estelle. She returns his love but out of duty and gratitude is obliged to marry another shepherd, Méril, after he rescues her father. Némorin despairs but is saved by Méril's heroic sacrifice of his own life in battle, a sacrifice made so that the lovers might be united. Estelle is thought to be a rather magnificent heroine, of whom the elderly Buffon remarked: 'la douce, l'aimable, l'intéressante Estelle a suspendu mes maux'.
'Dans les pastorales comme dans les arlequinades de Florian, toujours le ciel est bleu, l'amour loyal, les femmes chastes; la vertu, qui est spontanée et facile, est infailliblement récompensée. Mais l'auteur n'est pas dupe. Mainteneur fidèle de la tradition arcadienne et utopique immanente à tout le classicisme, il propose au lecteur un pèlerinage aux siècles d'or, un retour anticipé au paradis perdu. Et il est permis de rester sensible encore à la fluidité mélodique de sa prose et de ses vers' (DLF 487).
Set in the Cévennes, the author's birthplace, this work is also celebrated for its description of the local topography, the mountains, landscapes and flora of the region. 'Je veux célébrer ma patrie', he wrote of Estelle, 'ces beaux climats ou la verte olive, la mure vermeille, la grappe dorée croissent ensemble sous un ciel toujours d'azur'. To augment the local feeling of the work, Florian gives the Provencal translation for a number of the shepherdess' rhymes in the footnotes. The importance of Florian's works to the local community was witnessed in the early twentieth century by the Felibrige revival movement in Provence, which paid an annual tribute to him.
An enormously popular novel, several editions were published within the first year, at least five bearing the present imprint ('de l'imprimerie de Monsieur', ie the brother of Louis XVI who reigned from 1815 as Louis XVIII). Cioranescu gives the present edition as the first, but MMF demote it to third place.
Cioranescu 28777; MMF 88.53.
Fleming Fils, ou la Manie des Systêmes,
traduction libre de l’allemand, d’Auguste Lafontaine, par Madame de Cerenville, traducteur du baron de Fleming. Tome Premier [-Troisième].
Paris, Renard, 1803.
First Edition in French. Three volumes, 12mo, (168 x 90mm), pp. [iv], xxii, [ii] blank leaf, 208; [iv], 212; [iv], 187, 188-189 advertisements,  blank, -216 advertisements, wanting a leaf, presumably blank, between the two sets of publishers’ advertisements, small marginal tear III, 99, some dampstaining at the end of the first volume, scattered foxing, in contemporary half roan over plain blue boards, flat spines simply ruled and gilt in compartments, black morocco labels and numbering pieces, lettered and numbered in gilt, with the contemporary ownership inscription of Charlotte Hornby, 1804, in each volume, the first volume also inscribed ‘Bequeathed to Sophia Hesketh Nov. 2 1805’, with the heraldic bookplate of Sir Thomas Hesketh in each volume and the Easton Neston Library shelfmark label.
An attractive copy of the first French translation of the second part of Lafontaine’s Leben des Quinctius Heymeran von Flaming, Berlin 1795. This novel was… (more)
An attractive copy of the first French translation of the second part of Lafontaine’s Leben des Quinctius Heymeran von Flaming, Berlin 1795. This novel was one of Lafontaine’s biggest successes and shows the author at the height of his fictional genius.
‘Leben und Thaten des Freiherrn Quinctius Heymeran von Flaming (Berlin, 1795-6) shows how Lafontaine was able to exploit the new wave of ritterromane, and at the same time could refer to and profit from the already firmly established popularity of Siegfried von Lindenberg (1779) by Johann Gottwerth Müller, the so-called 'Itzehoe-Müller ', as he critically dealt with the controversial ideas about physiognomy... This way of profiting from earlier success stories was one important aspect of Lafontaine's own success. He never aspired to create originally conceived works and did not wait for an inspirational impetus: he was an extraordinarily hard-working man who made his living out of writing. Furthermore, he made clever use of what was to be one of the fundamental characteristics of the popular literary field: the principle of repetition... That William Lane's Minerva Press became the principal publisher of Lafontaine's novels in English is hardly surprising. Of the twenty-three translations into English published between 1797 and 1813, eight came from Minerva: the character of the Lafontaine novels suited the Minerva Press excellently, and one could easily have expected an even more dominant Minerva participation’ (Margareta Björkman, ‘High and Low, Some Remarks on the Reading Culture of the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries’, in Romantic Textualities, Issue 3, September 1999).
OCLC lists UCLA, Yale, Hagley and Cabrini College Library.
Galerie de l'ancienne Cour
ou Mémoires Anecdotes pour servir à l’histoire des regnes de Louis XIV et de Louis XV. Tome Premier [-Troisième].
First Edition. Three volumes, pp. xxiv, 379; iv, 476; iv, 456, 461-496, marginal tear to I D3, repaired, and to I G12, with no loss, in contemporary half speckled calf over brown textured boards, brown morocco labels on spines lettered and numbered in gilt.
Saint Simon’s celebrated Mémoires, ‘one of the most original monuments of French literature’, were principally written between 1740 and 1746 long after he went into… (more)
Saint Simon’s celebrated Mémoires, ‘one of the most original monuments of French literature’, were principally written between 1740 and 1746 long after he went into retirement. 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.
The first two volumes contain a number of extracts from Saint-Simon’s Mémoires, which were not to be published for another couple of years. A fourth volume dealing with the reigns of Henri IV and Louis XIII was added later.
‘Tout dans cette Galerie n’est pas tiré de Saint-Simon; il est vraisemblable que Soulavie a été l’éditeur de ce recueil’ (Tchemerzine, V, p. 657).
Tchemerzine V, p. 657; Formel, Bibliographie des Mémoires de Saint-Simon, p. 50; see Gay II, 381; not in Cioranescu.
OCLC lists Koninklijke, NYU and Montreal.
Henriette de Gerstenfeld,
ou Lettres écrites pendant la dernière guerre de 1779, pour la Succession de la Baviere, &c. En 3 vol. 8°. ornés de figures en taille-douces. Tome Premier [-Troisième].
Geneva, Nouffer de Rodon, 1782.
First Edition in French. Three parts in one volume, 12mo, (163 x 95mm), pp. [ii], iv, 174; [ii], 232; [ii], 152, eight engraved plates in the text, considerable browning in the first and last sections, some insignificant tears to text, wanting the front free endpaper, in contemporary calf backed boards, rubbed but sound, spine ruled in gilt with orange label lettered in gilt.
A scarce translation of this German sentimental novel set in wartime, attributed to the German writer Adam Beuvius. Originally published as Henriette oder der Husarenraub,… (more)
A scarce translation of this German sentimental novel set in wartime, attributed to the German writer Adam Beuvius. Originally published as Henriette oder der Husarenraub, in Briefen bey Gelegenheit des gegenwärtigen Krieges, Berlin and Leipzig, 1779. It has also been attributed to Christopher Martin Wieland (1733-1813). An English translation of the first volume appeared in Dublin in 1786, with the attribution to Wieland on the title page: Henrietta of Gerstenfeld. Translated from the German of Mr. Wieland, Dublin, H. Chamberlain for the Translator, 1786. The Wieland attribution was dropped when the second volume, which was printed by William Lane at the Minerva Press, followed in 1788: Henrietta of Gerstenfeld; a German Story.
Andrew Becket evidently expected something more from a German novel: ‘on the score of morality it is truly excellent. -But it is greatly wanting in those delicate and pathetic touches, which so particularly distinguish the writings of a Gesner, and a Klopstock...’ (Monthly Review, quoted in GRS, I, 377).
OCLC listst BN, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, St. Gallen and Chicago only.
MMF 82.15; see also Garside, Raven and Schöwerling 1786:17.More details Price: £600.00