- Tag = Continental Books
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The first two volumes contain a number of extracts from Saint-Simon’s Mémoires, which were not to be published for another couple of years.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.
Histoire de M. le Marquis de Cressy,
Traduite de l’Anglois par Madame de ***.
First Edition. 12mo in eights and fours, (162 x 92mm), pp. [ii], 176, 3 errata, text a little browned and creased in part, in contemporary mottled calf, slightly rubbed, head and tail of spine slightly chipped, marbled endpapers, red edges, with the contemporary ownership inscription of Ernest d’Aumont.
First edition of one of Riccoboni’s scarcer early novels. Written in the third person, as against the epistolary form that came to be her preferred… (more)
First edition of one of Riccoboni’s scarcer early novels. Written in the third person, as against the epistolary form that came to be her preferred genre (although some ten letters are given in the body of the text and those mostly in the first half), Histoire de M. le Marquis de Cressy is an analytical sentimental novel in which the egotistical and ambitious Cressy seeks, Valmont-like, to forward his career and his fortune through a series of well-placed seductions. Riccoboni’s interest, as always, lies in the collateral damage done to the female characters through their involvement with the hero and it is in the subtlety and astuteness of Riccoboni’s psychological analysis that the strength of the novel lies.
‘The best [of Riccoboni’s novels] is her Histoire de M. le marquis de Cressy (1758), in which the conflict of motive happens to be in the mind of a man. The middle-aged marquis has engaged the affections of a young girl, and for a moment hesitates between the charm of her youth and the worldly advantages of marriage with a beautiful widow who will second his ambitions. He writes one of those sophistical letters in which Madame Riccoboni excelled, explaining to the unfortunate girl that although his heart burns for her he must sacrifice his dreams of happiness. She feels that life for her is over, and takes the veil, bidding her perfidious lover adieu. She loves him yet, though she knows now that she has loved an illusion: it is not the lover that is most regretted, but the sentiment, the enchantment that has flown, the bliss of loving. That is the consolation of the sentimentalist’ (Ernest Albert Baker, The History of the English Novel, v.1 p. 137).
This was a very popular novel, with several other editions of the French text following in 1758 and subsequent years. An English translation was published in 1765 under the title The History of the Marquis of Cressy. Translated from the French (Block p. 197).
OCLC lists BN, BL, Göttingen, London Library, British Columbia, UCLA, Yale and Williams College.
MMF 58:17; Cioranescu 53041.
Histoire des Sevarambes,
Peuples qui habitent une Partie du troisiéme Continent, communément apellé La Terre Australe. Contenant une Relation du Gouvernement, des Mœurs, de la Religion, & du Langage de cette Nation, inconnuë jusqu’à present aux Peuples de l’Europe. Tome Premier [-Second]. Nouvelle Edition, corrigée & augmentée.
Amsterdam, Pierre Mortier, 1715.
New Edition, Corrected and Enlarged. Two volumes in one, 12mo, (156 x 84mm), pp. xviii, 273; [ii], 247, title page to the first volume laid down, early tears and weakness still visible, outer edges of I, xviii and II, 21 & 23 reinforced, in contemporary green morocco, spine faded, gilt in compartments with red morocco label lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers and edges.
A handsome copy of this important early utopia set in Australia, said to be the most complex and accomplished of all fictional utopias. Denis de… (more)
A handsome copy of this important early utopia set in Australia, said to be the most complex and accomplished of all fictional utopias. Denis de Vairasse was a French Huguenot living in London which explains why the first part of the work saw publication in an English translation by A. Roberts, The history of the Sevarites or Sevarambi: a nation inhabiting part of the third continent, commonly called, Terræ australes incognitæ, London, 1675, prior to its first appearance in French. This followed some two years later, when a rather spicier second part was added (for the French market) and it was published in four volumes by Barbin in Paris, 1677-1679. All early editions are scarce.
‘Denis Veiras, ou Vairasse, obscur soldat et avocat sans causes qui s’autoproclame, sous l’anagramme de Sévarias, législateur génial et fondateur d’utopie. L’Histoire des Sévarambes et la plus achevée des utopies romanesques. C’est le paradigme de “l’utopie narrative”, selon l’expression de Jean-Michel Racaut, dans un habile équilibre entre la statistique fictive et le voyage imaginaire. Des cinq parties de l’ouvrage, la première raconte une aventure maritime avec naufrage dans les terres australes et robinsonnade, la seconde l’habituel épisode du tourisme utopique et l’installation de Siden (anagramme de Denis) et de ses compagnons chez les Sévarambes pour une quinzaine d’années; les trois dernières sont consacrées à l’histoire et aux moeurs des Sévarambes’ (Utopie, la quête de la société idéale en Occident, p. 179).
OCLC lists Glasgow, three copies in Paris and UCLA, Delaware, Michigan and Ohio State.
See Hartig pp. 34 -35 (not listing this edition).More details Price: £2,000.00
eine wahre Geschichte.
Berlin & Leipzig, 1784.
First Edition in German. 12mo, (158 x 90 mm), pp. [ii], -159, engraved full-length portrait of Voltaire on the title-page, in contemporary half calf over speckled boards, spine gilt in compartments with yellow morocco label lettered in gilt, some worm damage to upper joint, initials ‘IVP’ stamped at the foot of the title-page, the front endpaper inscribed in a contemporary hand ‘Egeres oberforfer’.
The scarce first German edition of Voltaire's L'Ingénu, one of Voltaire's most important fictional works, first published in Geneva in 1767. Voltaire himself thought it… (more)
The scarce first German edition of Voltaire's L'Ingénu, one of Voltaire's most important fictional works, first published in Geneva in 1767. Voltaire himself thought it a superior work to Candide, because it was more realistic: a young Frenchman brought up among the Hurons returns to a corrupt France, to be met by false imprisonment, religious intolerance and a tragic ending.
OCLC lists Munich, Berlin, Göttingen and Princeton.
BN Voltaire Catalogue 2862.More details Price: £1,400.00
Idylles et Poëmes Champêtres
de M. Gessner, Traduits de l'Allemand par M. Huber, Traducteur de la Mort d'Abel.
Lyon, Bruyset, 1762.
First Edition. 8vo, (162 x 98 mm), engraved frontispiece by Watelet after Lavallée-Poussin and pp. xlvi, [ii], 154, , numerous engraved vignettes throughout the text, including twelve engraved head- and tail-pieces by Watelet (including one by Marguerite Lecomte) after Lavallée-Poussin and Pierre, in contemporary mottled calf, triple gilt fillet to covers, flat spine gilt in compartments with red morocco label lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers, red edges, green silk marker, corners very slightly bumped, from the library of Claude Lebédel.
A handsome copy of this very attractive first French translation of Gessner's Idylles, beautifully illustrated throughout. The frontispiece, depicting a shepherdess in a pastoral scene,… (more)
A handsome copy of this very attractive first French translation of Gessner's Idylles, beautifully illustrated throughout. The frontispiece, depicting a shepherdess in a pastoral scene, is engraved by Claude-Henri Watelet (1718-1786) after Etienne de La Vallée-Poussin (1735-1802) and there are twelve further engravings in the course of the text, as head- and tail-pieces. Eleven of these are also engraved by Watelet after Lavallée-Poussin and Pierre and the twelfth is by Watelet’s long-term lover, Marguerite Lecomte (1717-1800). Each of the pieces is signed.
This is an early work by Huber, only preceded by another translation from Gessner, his La mort d'Abel, 1760. Huber, the first to introduce Gessner into France, was to go on to be a prolific writer and translator, always from the German, specialising mainly in poetry and in the history of art, particularly antiquities. He also published a work of instruction in the German language and in 1766 took up a post teaching French at the University of Leipzig. Turgot was among Huber’s students and it was he who supplied the preface to the present work as well as the translation of the first idyll. Huber’s translator’s preface is also of considerable interest for its discussion of contemporary German literature, arguing its superiority over Italian and English literature, analysing the works of several authors and citing numerous passages of particular value to the man of taste.
Cioranescu 34238; Cohen-de Ricci p. 431.
Il finto Cavaliere
o siano le Memorie di Madamigella di Mainville Scritte dal Marchese d’Argens, e per la prima volta Tradotte dal Francese.
Venice, Locatelli, 1767.
First Edition in Italian. 8vo, engraved frontispiece and pp. [iii]-xvi, CXCVII,  advertisements, occasional light browning in text, uncut throughout in contemporary white paste-paper boards, spine lettered in ink, remains of library shelf label at foot of spine, early ownership inscription crossed out on front paste down and some faded manuscript notes.
A good copy of this scarce Italian translation of the Marquis d’Argens’ lively and risqué novel, first published as Mémoires de Mademoiselle de Mainville, ou… (more)
A good copy of this scarce Italian translation of the Marquis d’Argens’ lively and risqué novel, first published as Mémoires de Mademoiselle de Mainville, ou le Feint Chevalier, La Haye 1736. The eponymous heroine runs away from home in order to avoid being married against her will or sent to a convent. Accompanied by her lover, who refuses to let her go without him and promises solemnly to respect her honour, the two travel together as brother and sister. However, her beauty attracts too much attention and the so-called siblings keep getting into trouble, so our heroine decides to dress as a man in order that the two might travel in safety. ‘Après avoir bien rêvé, ils n’en trouvérent pas de meilleur, que celui de déguiser le sexe de Mademoiselle de Mainville. Elle en comprit elle-même toute la nécessité, & résolut de s’habiller en homme. Dans ce nouvel état, elle parut encore plus belle. Jamais cavalier ne fut d’une figure si aimable & si propre à troubler le repos des Dames’ (I, 32). For a while, they frequent gambling circles where they are very succesful, until an argument lands them in a duel, after which she is arrested and taken to jail. On their travels they meet engagingly louche characters, such as a famous debauched opium addict, numerous swindlers in different guises and a duchess who ‘simply adores opera’.
With a witty dedication to the shadow of Bayle in which d’Argens regrets that he is unable to dedicate a more serious work than a novel to him, rather than this ‘Pot-pourri d’Amourettes & de Philosophie’ [‘Olla potrida d’Amouretti, e di Filosofia’]. Were he less lazy, and less amorous, he would have finished his Doutes Metaphysiques [‘Dubbj Metafisici’], but in nine months he has barely managed to write three pages. He has therefore let his imagination dictate to his pen and, instead of the words ‘existence’ and ‘determinism’, he has focused on those of ‘Bachus’, ‘pleasure’ and ‘love’.
See Cioranescu 8306; not in OCLC.
Katholisches Gebet und Erbauungsbuch im Geiste der Religion Jesu:
verfasst von J.J. Natter.
8vo (170 x 98 mm), pp. [iv], vi, , 284, frontispiece with steel engraving of Virgin and Child, occasional very minor toning, slight foxing to frontispiece and title-page, in contemporary freestyle sheepskin, single gilt fillet bordered with gilt stylised floral roll, small gilt stylised clovers to corners, spine gilt, red striped endpapers, a.e.g., preserved in original marbled and floral paper slipcase, leather surface a bit creased, joints, head and foot of spine minimally rubbed.
A successful German work of Catechism and moral edification, in an exquisite eighteenth-century Czech binding. First published in 1800, it was written by the Prague-born… (more)
A successful German work of Catechism and moral edification, in an exquisite eighteenth-century Czech binding. First published in 1800, it was written by the Prague-born theologian Johann Joseph Natter, a talented author of devotional handbooks which were less heavily concentrated on the Scriptures, instead focussed on encouraging charity and a peaceful state of mind. The present work features prayers and meditations for each day of the week as well as for specific religious occasions, such as Communion. As a contemporary German periodical wrote of a later edition, ‘the form and the content justify the favourable reception it has obtained everywhere’ (Allgemeine Zeitung Munchen, 1830, 19)
OCLC lists this edition at Freiburg, Cologne and the National Libraries of Poland and the Czech Republic.
L’Ami des femmes.
12mo, pp. 182, , in contemporary English speckled calf, ruled border to covers, spine ruled in gilt with red morocco label lettered in gilt.
An attractive copy of this Rousseau inspired handbook for young women. First published in 1758 and a best-seller in France, Boudier de Villemert’s text discusses… (more)
An attractive copy of this Rousseau inspired handbook for young women. First published in 1758 and a best-seller in France, Boudier de Villemert’s text discusses women's rank in society and suggests possible reforms to this. Neatly arranged in chapters by subject, it discusses the education of girls and their suitable occupations; it talks of luxury and dress, love, gallantry and marriage, condemning idleness and cosmetics and advocating maternal breast-feeding. It was published in English as The Ladies Friend, but not until 1766, which explains the English binding on this considerably earlier French edition.
‘Ce n’est ici ni une parodie, ni une imitation de l’Ami des Hommes. Cet Ouvrage a un caractère particulier, qui pourroit bien ne faire que de mauvais Copistes; mais il m’a fourni l’idée d’adresser aux Femmes quelques avis, & de discuter avec elles leurs propres intérêts. Il convenoit de prendre un ton moins haut, & d’aller, pour ainsi dire, terre à terre avec nos belles Philosophes... Je souhaite que ces idées de réforme ne leur déplaisent pas’ (Avertissement).
See Cioranescu 13039-13043.
L’Ecole de l'Homme,
ou Paralléle des Portraits du Siècle, & des Tableaux de l'Ecriture Sainte. Ouvrage moral, critique & anecdotique. Nouvelle Edition. Tome Premier [-Second].
New Edition. Two volumes in one, 12mo (164 x 92 mm), pp. [iv], xxiv, 224; [iv], 259, some light browning in the text, in contemporary mottled calf, blind ruled filet to covers, spine gilt in compartments with red morocco label lettered in gilt, slightly worn at extremities, top of front joint cracking, blue marbled endpapers, pink silk marker, blue marbled edges, from the library of Claude Lebédel.
A virulent satire against church and state, this work, first published in 1752, was seized on publication and the author was imprisoned in the Bastille.… (more)
A virulent satire against church and state, this work, first published in 1752, was seized on publication and the author was imprisoned in the Bastille. Written in the form of La Bruyère’s Caractères, the most outrageous attacks are on the Dauphin and the King himself but the work is far-reaching in the savagery with which swathes of society, including actors, bankers, magistrates, bishops and aristocrats, are targetted. Many leading figures are lampooned: Maupeou, who is ridiculed on account of his tyrannic wife, Helvetius, Samuel Bernard, the Duc de Richelieu, the Marquise de Pompadour and Quénay all fall under Génard’s ruthless satire.
The dedication is to 'la vertueuse et aimable mademoiselle F...L.D.', ie Françoise Le Duc. It is signed De Gran, which is of course an anagram of Genard. The first part has a lengthy and comic introduction entitled 'idée de l'auteur', in which Genard sketches the state of current literature and his chosen place within it. 'On a travaillé ici à tenter tous les goûts, à instruire tous les états, & à enlever le brut de tous les sentimens. Morale pure & délicate; critique fine & sans aigreur, Anecdotes curieuses & sans calomnie. Chacun doit y trouver de quoi lui plaire: car qui n'aime à s'instruire des vices d'autrui, & à les paraphraser?' (idée de l'auteur, p. xvii). Each of the three parts of the work have a 'Clef Naturelle' to the identity of the characters mentioned or satirised in the text.
Genard's work became extremely popular and was republished several times in French between 1752 and 1759. An English translation, The School of Man, a Moral, Critical and Anecdotal Work appeared in 1753 and ran to at least five editions. Genard also wrote a companion volume L'Ecole de la Femme, while he was in exile in Holland after his release from the Bastille. This was translated into English as The School of Woman: or, memoirs of Constantia. Addressed to the Duchess of ***, London 1753. Both works have also been attributed to Dupuis, a soldier in the guards, though Cioranescu thinks this is doubtful.
See Cioranescu 30577; Quérard III, 302; Darnton 182.
OCLC lists Wuerzburg and Lyon only.
L’Esprit des Beaux Arts.
Tome Premier [-Second].
Paris, Bauche, 1753.
First Edition. Two volumes in one, 12mo, (165 x 88mm), pp. [iv], 252,  contents and errata; [iv], 231,  contents and errata,  privilege, 17 publisher’s catalogue, engraved vignettes on both title pages, with the half titles, in contemporary calf, a little dusty and worn, headcap missing, spine gilt in compartments with dark morocco label lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers, red edges.
First edition of a wide-ranging study of the arts by Pierre Estève, a medical doctor attached to the University of Montpellier and the author of… (more)
First edition of a wide-ranging study of the arts by Pierre Estève, a medical doctor attached to the University of Montpellier and the author of numerous works on astronomy, music, language and aesthetics. Beginning with an examination of the nature of language, and the French language in particular, Estève proceeds to a detailed discussion of music, touching on its history, comparing ancient and modern taste in music and discussing the principles of melody, recitative and French opera, as well as dance and ballet. A final part is devoted to architecture, with specific reference to theatre architecture.
Bound after the work is Bauche’s extensive publisher’s catalogue, which lists some three hundred titles in the fields of philosophy, literature and science. This catalogue is of particular importance as many of Bauche’s publications were controversial and did not bear his name in the imprint. For example it was Bauche who published Diderot’s Lettre sur les Sourds et Muets, 1741, which was published with simply the date as imprint, but is openly listed here.
With attractive engraved vignettes on both title-pages, by Pierre-Alexandre Aveline (1710-1760). The first of these, which is unsigned, bears the inscription, ‘le plaisir des beaux Arts, est le plaisir des Sages’.
Cioranescu 27897; Cohen-de Ricci 363.
L'Espion François à Londres;
ou Observations Critiques sur l’Angleterre et sur les Anglois. Par Mr. le Chevalier de Goudar. Ouvrage destiné à servir de Suite à l’Espion Chinois du même Auteur. Premier [-Second] Volume.
‘Londres, aux dépens de l’Auteur’, 1780.
Second Extant Edition. Two volumes in one, 12mo, (166 x 98 mm), pp. xii, 286; xii, 314, with half titles and table of contents to each volume, in contemporary calf, gilt tooled border to covers, spine elaborately gilt in continuous pattern with black morocco label lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers and edges.
A scarce satirical portrait of England by Ange Goudar, adventurer, government agent, writer, gambler, swindler and friend of Casanova. Intended as a sequel to his… (more)
A scarce satirical portrait of England by Ange Goudar, adventurer, government agent, writer, gambler, swindler and friend of Casanova. Intended as a sequel to his successful L’Espion chinois: ou, l’envoyé secret de la cour de Pékin, 1764, which exposed the corruption at the heart of the ancien régime in France, Goudar’s L’Espion françois à Londres, subjects English society, commerce and government to ruthless scrutiny. Alongside the biting satire comes a grudging admiration of some things English, in particular the promotion of industry, the recognition of the importance of America and the English Constitution, which he describes as ‘un superbe édifice’ (I, 47).
L’Espion françois à Londres first appeared in London, where it was published in instalments between 1778 and 1779, but no copies of this original periodical appear to have survived. The first book edition followed in 1779, printed in France under a false ‘Londres’ imprint, as here. It is very rare, with only a handful of known copies in institutions and no copies of either that or the present edition in auction records for the past thirty years. Mars describes the present edition as a Paris piracy, but suggests the possibility that Goudar himself may have had something to do with the printing of one or other of these editions. A contemporary account of the original London printing, which talks of Goudar’s ‘goût de terroir’, shows that the extant editions vary considerably from the original English printing.
Mars, Ange Goudar, Cet Inconnu, Nice 1966, no. 138; see also Darnton, The Corpus of Clandestine Literature in France 1769-1789, no. 207; Cioranescu 31501.
ESTC t97973, at BL, Cambridge, Bodleian, Taylorian, Rylands; several copies in Poland and two in France; Harvard, Queen’s University, Stanford and Clark.More details Price: £1,600.00
L'Évangile de la Raison,
8vo, (192 x 115 mm), pp. viii (paginated ‘6’), 254, some scattered light foxing in the text, in contemporary calf, front joint splitting at head and foot, spine gilt in compartments, red and brown morocco labels lettered in gilt, the top label lettered ‘Oeuvre de Voltair’, evidently this work bound uniformly with other volumes not present here, marbled endpapers, red edges.
A scarce Dutch edition of this key compilation of four inflammatory works by Voltaire, first published in 1764 and condemned. The works are Testament de… (more)
A scarce Dutch edition of this key compilation of four inflammatory works by Voltaire, first published in 1764 and condemned. The works are Testament de Jean Meslier, Catéchisme de l’Honnête-Homme, Sermon des cinquante and Saül et David. A fifth work, Examen de la Religion, is thought to have been written by La Serre and not by Voltaire. This is the first of several similar compilations edited and published by Voltaire under provocative titles.
‘Ce recueil, probablement imprimé en Hollande et publié en 1764, réunit cinq ouvrages explosifs contre le christianisme, tous anonymes naturellement... le titre montre, à côté des ‘Sermons’, ‘Catéchismes’, ‘Homélies’, l’étonnante récupération, de la part d’un auteur qui juge incompatibles christianisme et raison, de la terminologie de l’adversaire. La composition de ce livre était due à Voltaire lui-même, qui réalisa là sa première ‘collection’ d’écrits contre l’Infàme’ (Marie-Hélène Cotoni, Inventaire Voltaire, p. 513).
This edition contains the same pieces as the first edition, with Saül being placed as the last piece in the collection and being described on the half-title as an ‘hyperdrame’ rather than a ‘tragédie’. This is a translation from the English, The man after God’s own heart, London 1760, by Peter Annet (1693-1769). The other pieces are in the same order and all, with the exception of Testament de Jean Meslier, have half-titles. The half-title to l’Examen bears the date 1764.
BN Voltaire Catalogue 5229; Bengesco 1897 A, p. 389.More details Price: £1,000.00
ou l’Homme Considéré tant dans l’Etat de pure Nature, que dans la société. Par P. Ch. Levesque.
First Edition. 8vo, (152 x 92mm), pp. viii, 279, attractive printer’s device on title-page, in contemporary mottled sheep, stain to lower board, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label lettered in gilt, speckled edges, spine distintively gilt and lettered ‘Fouche’, in gilt.
Scarce first edition of a popular work of ethics by one of Diderot’s protégés. The son of an engraver, Levesque worked for a while in… (more)
Scarce first edition of a popular work of ethics by one of Diderot’s protégés. The son of an engraver, Levesque worked for a while in the family business while publishing numerous literary and philosophical works which gained him considerable attention. In 1773, Diderot recommended him to Catherine II, and soon afterwards he became a professor at the Ecole des Cadets in Saint Petersburg, where he remained for seven years. On his return he published the work which made his name, Histoire de Russie, tirée des chroniques originales de pièces authentiques et des meilleurs historiens de la nation, 1782, which was hugely popular both in France and Russia. He was elected to the Académie des Inscriptions and then to the Collège de France. He later translated Xenophon, Plutarch and Thucicides into French for Didot’s series of Moralistes anciens and collaborated with Watelet on a dictionary of painting and sculpture.
L’Homme Moral is a philosophical examination of the effect of society on man’s moral nature, a comparison of ‘L’Homme Sauvage’ (pp. 5-19) with ‘L’Homme en Société’ (pp. 19-26). The work is divided into forty-four chapters each addressing one aspect of human life, such as equality, government, love, adultery, education, luxury, marriage, duels, suicide and pleasure.
OCLC lists Cambridge, Bodleian, McMaster, UC San Diego, Yale, Chicago, Michigan and Princeton.
Cioranescu 40097.More details Price: £450.00
‘Londres’, i.e. Paris, 1759.
First Edition? 18mo (124 x 70 mm), pp. x, 166, marginal tear to A2, with loss of upper margin, repaired, just touching the ‘R’ of ‘Epitre’ on the verso, title-page printed in red and black within decorative border, with central bird ornament, in later quarter vellum over patterned boards, spine neatly lettered in red ink.
A scarce edition, possibly the first, of this jeux d'esprit by Poinsinet de Sivry. The phrase 'j'ai la berlue' translates roughly as 'I must be… (more)
A scarce edition, possibly the first, of this jeux d'esprit by Poinsinet de Sivry. The phrase 'j'ai la berlue' translates roughly as 'I must be seeing things'; the title here serves to introduce the piercing sight of the author. Born in the middle of the night and kept in a darkened room for the first three weeks of his life, the author is free from that false sight which characterises most human beings. Therefore, in an age of telescopes, lunettes and microscopes, he alone possesses unimpeded natural sight. 'Les uns cherchent dans la lune des habitans qui n'y sont pas, les autres croient dans une mouche des beautés que le microscope y met; les Egyptiens trouvent Dieu dans un oignon; les Romains prennent l'amour-propre pour la vertu; les Zulins, le libertinage pour la liberté, la débauche pour la volupté. Le monde a-t'-il les yeux bien clarifiés?' (pp. 13-14). The dedication (signed 'XRDGISKNPMBF') is to the 'illustrious eagle', king of airy space whose vision pierces the clouds.
ESTC lists three different ‘Londres 1759’ editions. Priority has not been established, but the old adage of the greater number of pages would suggest this to be the first. Cioranescu gives priority to ESTC t200360 (pp. x, 124) which is held at the Taylorian, Texas and four copies at the BN. ESTC t230225 (pp. [vi], 160) is the scarcest of the three, with only two copies listed, at the Sorbonne and Toronto. The present edition, ESTC t128931 (pp. x, 166), is at the BL, Cambridge, Bodleian, Taylorian; two copies at the BN, four copies in Poland and Wisconsin-Madison, UCLA and Maryland only in America. The work later appeared as La Berlue, ou Nouvelles découvertes sur l’optique, Londres, 1760.
See Cioranescu 50761; Gay I 376.
La Famille Vertueuse.
Lettres traduites de l’Anglais. Par M. de la Bretone. Première [-Quatrième] Partie.
Paris, la veuve Duchesne, 1767.
First Edition. Four volumes, 12mo in eights and fours, (162 x 90mm), pp. xxxvi, 251; [iv], -288 (A7 and D1-4 misbound); [iv], -300; [iv], -299,  table, the title pages within the usual ornamental borders, tear III 109-112, touching text but with no loss, repaired, in contemporary sheep-backed green boards, brown and black morocco labels lettered and numbered in gilt, simply gilt rules to the foot of the spines, red edges.
The first edition of Restif’s first published work, an epistolary novel in four volumes. It is not a translation from the English, as claimed on… (more)
The first edition of Restif’s first published work, an epistolary novel in four volumes. It is not a translation from the English, as claimed on the title-page in fashionable style, but is an original work about an aristocratic family and their adventures in France and England. It is printed by Quilleau, for whom Restif worked as a proof-reader and compositor, and is the first of several novels that Restif managed to get printed during his time there. It made him a profit of 765 livres and it was on the strength of this that he left the printing house and started writing professionally.
The Epître (pp. v-xiv) is addressed ‘Aus [sic] Jeunes Beautés’ and is followed by a prefatory ‘Lettre de Mistress Eleanor à Miss Bridget’ (xv-xxxvi) in which Eleanor explains how she came by the letters. Travelling between Kent and Hampton Court, her father was set upon by some vagabonds and would have perished but for the intervention of Lord B*. As usually follows in these situations, Eleanor’s simple delight at her father’s safety delighted Lord B* who suggests that she become a companion for his daughter, Miss Cecily. Cecily is a descendant of the comte de Lisse, one of the main protagonists in the unhappy story that follows and Cecily, enraptured by her new friend, gives her all the letters with a view to her arranging and publishing them.
The title pages are set within the typical Restif ornamental printed borders. Rives Childs (197-198) states that 2000 copies were printed - an impressive number for a first work and a sure sign of Restif’s involvement in the printing process - nonetheless the novel is now hard to come by and is comparatively scarce.
OCLC lists Lyon, BL, Cambridge, Leeds; McGill, Bancroft, Chicago, Harvard, Walters Art Museum, Princeton and Yale.
Cioranescu 52652; MMF 67.43; Gay II 231-232; Rives Childs 197-198.More details Price: £1,800.00
La Paysanne Parvenue,
ou les Mémoires de Madame la Marquise de L.V. Par M. le Chevalier de Mouhy. Tome Premier [-Quatriéme].
Amsterdam, aux dépens de la Compagnie, 1757.
Four volumes (twelve parts) in two, 12mo, (160 x 95 mm), pp. [ii], 8, 240; [ii], 3-4, 206; [ii], 222; [ii], 260, title pages printed in red and black, considerable dampstaining in text, in contemporary mottled calf, spines gilt in compartments with red morocco labels lettered in gilt and brown labels numbered in gilt, marbled endpapers, extremities bumped, wormholes on the front board of the second volume, from the library of Claude Lebédel.
A scarce edition of Mouhy’s popular novel, first published in 1735. Written in conscious imitation of Marivaux’ Paysan Parvenu, 1735-1736, Mouhy rushed his own novel… (more)
A scarce edition of Mouhy’s popular novel, first published in 1735. Written in conscious imitation of Marivaux’ Paysan Parvenu, 1735-1736, Mouhy rushed his own novel out, launching the first volumes on the market as early as July 1735, with the other volumes following in quick succession. Mouhy’s novel enjoyed considerable popularity and was republished for many years. It saw two English translations, an anonymous version, The fortunate country maid. Being the entertaining memoirs of the present celebrated Marchioness of L.V. Who from a Cottage, through a great Variety of Diverting Adventures, became a Lady of the first Quality in the Court of France, by her steady Adherence to the Principles of Virtue and Honour. Wherein are display’d The Various and Vile Artifices employ’d by Men of Intrigue, for seducing of Young Women; with suitable Reflections..... From the French of the Chevalier de Mouhy, London 1740, which was hugely popular with editions published throughout the second half of the century and Eliza Haywood’s less successful translation, The virtuous villager, or virgin’s victory being the memoirs of a very great lady at the court of France, written by herself, London, printed for Eliza Haywood, 1742.
Martin, Mylne & Frautschi, Bibliographie du genre romanesque français 1751-1800, 57.R38; see also Jones p. 56; Cioranescu 47515 (7 parts) and 47516 (Amsterdam, 12 parts).
OCLC lists the BN and two copies in Slovenia.
La Saxe Galante.
Ou Histoire des Amours d’Auguste I. Roi de Pologne.
Amsterdam, aux dépens de la Compagnie, 1736.
Third Edition. 12mo (146 x 88 mm), pp. [ii], 416, title page printed in red, first and final leaves a little dampstained, binding internally sprung but externally sound, in later vellum, marbled endpapers, spine simply ruled and lettered in gilt, with the ownership inscription ‘A. de Meslon’ (?).
A scarce early edition of one of the cheekiest plagiarisms of the eighteenth century. Frequently reprinted, this chronique scandaleuse claims to contain true details of… (more)
A scarce early edition of one of the cheekiest plagiarisms of the eighteenth century. Frequently reprinted, this chronique scandaleuse claims to contain true details of the love life of the King of Poland, Augustus of Saxony, known as ‘the German Casanova’ and said to have fathered some 400 illegitimate children.
‘Cet ouvrage du baron de Poellnitz est un plagiat des plus audacieux. - Ce n'est autre chose que le charmant roman de la Princesse de Clèves de Mme de La Fayette, que le baron de Poellnitz a mis sous son nom, en changeant tout simplement les noms des personnages et le lieu de l'action. Quant aux phrases et au style, on n’a même pas pris la peine de les déguiser’ (Gay III, p. 1028-1079). Gay goes on to say that according to Paulmy this ‘roman très agréable et très amusant’ was the ‘fruit of the youth’ of the chevalier de Solignac, who was witness to most of the adventures recounted in it. It was translated into German as Das Galante Sachsen, Frankfurt, 1739.
See Jones p. 54; Cioranescu 50714; Gay III, 1078-1079; MMF 63.R.37.
Not in OCLC, which lists an ebook, linked to a digital version of the Harvard copy.
La Vie de Laurent de Medicis,
surnommé le Grand, et le Père des Lettres, Chef de la Republique de Florence; Adressée au Pape Léon X: Traduite du Latin de Nicolas Valori, son Contemporain. Avec des Notes, & quelques Piéces anciennes qui ont rapport au même sujet.
Paris, Nyon, 1761.
First Edition in French. 12mo, pp. xxiv, 346, , small marginal hole on p. 65, in contemporary northern European mottled calf, flat spine gilt in continuous diced pattern, orange morocco label lettered in gilt, brightly patterned black and white endpapers, all edges red, from the Starhenberg library at Schloss Eferding, though not so designated.
The first French translation of the first biography of Lorenzo 'The Magnificent' (circa 1449-1492), great patron of the arts, poet, collector and founder of the… (more)
The first French translation of the first biography of Lorenzo 'The Magnificent' (circa 1449-1492), great patron of the arts, poet, collector and founder of the great Laurentian Library. This biography, originally written in Latin by Nicolas Valori, is addressed to Pope Leo X, the son of Lorenzo de Medici. It was Leo X who, after the family's expulsion from Florence, later bought the Laurentian Library back from the monks of S. Marco and continued to enlarge it in Rome.
Provenance: Prince Starhenberg, Austrian Ambassador to Versailles 1756-1766. During his stay in France he amassed a considerable library, mostly bound in this distinctive style and surviving in very good condition today. He married a Princess de Salm, a german cousin of the Princesse de Soubisme, wife of the great book collector and friend of Louis XV.
Cioranescu 31682.More details Price: £300.00
La Vita di Pietro Aretino
scritta dal conte Giammaria Mazzuchelli Bresciano.
Padua, Comino, 1741
First Edition. 8vo, engraved portrait frontispiece and pp. viii, 303,  colophon,  advertisements, in contemporary glazed cream paper boards, darker labels on spine lettered in gilt.
First edition of Mazzuchelli’s biography of the infamous poet, Pietro Aretino (1492-1556), known as the ‘scourge of princes’. Aretino’s satirical sonnets and burlesques were so… (more)
First edition of Mazzuchelli’s biography of the infamous poet, Pietro Aretino (1492-1556), known as the ‘scourge of princes’. Aretino’s satirical sonnets and burlesques were so feared by the nobles and princes of his day that they appear to have handed out large sums of money to buy his silence. This so-called patronage funded a notoriously profligate lifestyle and his home in Venice (where he went having been banished from his home town of Arezzo on the publication of his sonnet against indulgences) became the scene of continuous revelling and orgies.
The preface (pp. iii-viii) is supplied by A.F. Seghezzi. Giuseppe Bartoli’s letter to Mazzuchelli on the subject of the present work, praising the latter for his ‘erudizione si ammirabile’, is also included (pp. 263-267). The text is also accompanied by extensive bibliographical footnotes and a thirty-one page index.
Brunet III, 1563.