- Tag = Continental Books
Histoire des Galligènes,
ou Mémoires de Duncan. Première [-Seconde] Partie.
Amsterdam, Arkstée & Merkus, 1765.
First Edition. Two parts in one volume, 12mo, (164 x 93 mm), pp. [iv], 165,  blank; [iv], 136, with the half titles, in contemporary speckled calf, covers bumped, with some careful restoration to the joints, spine gilt in compartments with red morocco label lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers, red edges.
A legendary rarity among utopias and Tiphaigne de la Roche’s most brilliant work. Once thought to be by Diderot, this is a socialist utopia where… (more)
A legendary rarity among utopias and Tiphaigne de la Roche’s most brilliant work. Once thought to be by Diderot, this is a socialist utopia where during the course of the novel the author questions the viability of an ideal society. The traveller, Duncan, is shipwrecked in the tropics, only to find himself warmly welcomed by a people speaking an ancient dialect of French. It turns out that the islanders are descended from a Frenchman who had been shipwrecked with his two children and had set about populating the island (which rose out of the sea at the moment of the shipwreck) and building it into a peaceful republic. Equal education for both sexes, no distinctions of rank or private ownership, no priests or organised religion, the islanders even have no concept of individual families, as the children are removed at birth from their mother, as all are deemed to be brothers and the republic to be the mother of all. As the novel progresses, the ideal nature of the island society - or rather of humanity’s ability to achieve utopia - is increasingly questioned and by its conclusion, Tiphaigne de la Roche’s underlying pessimism is tipping the balance from utopia to dystopia.
‘Peut-être un example d’une compréhension de Swift rare au XVIIIe siècle... Tiphaigne de la Roche dépeint une société qui a eu toutes les chances d’atteindre à la perfection, mais qui, parce que ses membres sont des mortels avec les caractéristiques innées de la race humaine, se révèle à l’époque où le voyageur européen fait naufrage sur leurs côtes, encore loin d’un état de bonheur complet’ (Goulding, quoted in Gove, p. 354).
‘Lichtenberger considère que ce roman utopique est très supérieur à la moyenne du genre. Son originalité réside dans le fait que l’auteur n’a pas une idée statique de l’Etat utopique: il peut y avoir révolte, cet Etat étant enclin à se dégrader comme tout autre système. “Pour son pessimisme ironique et résigné, l’auteur mérite peut-être un souvenir, non seulement parmi les communistes, mais parmi les littérateurs secondaires de son temps”’ (Hartig, p. 58).
The work was reprinted five years after its first appearance under the longer title Histoire naturelle civile et politique des Galligenes antipodes de la nation françoise, dont ils tirent leur origine; où l’on développe le naissance, les progrès, les moeurs & les vertus singulieres de ces insulaires. Les révolutions & les productions merveilleuses de leur isle, avec l’histoire de leur fondateur, Geneve, Cramer, 1770 (OCLC lists Poitiers, Newberry and Duke only). There were also two reprints in the late twentieth century, by EDHIS and Slatkine. At the time, the only known copy of the work had been in the Bibliothèque Nationale, but it had disappeared (and is still catalogued as ‘indisponible : absence constatée (après récolement)’) and the reprint was only made possible when a copy was found in a private collection.
OCLC lists copies at the British Library, the European University Institute, University of Gotha and Princeton.
MMF 65.50; Cioranescu 61982; Gove, The Imaginary Voyage in Prose Fiction, p. 354; Hartig p. 58.More details Price: £8,500.00
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.More details Price: £600.00
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.
Journal de ce qui s’est passé à la Tour du Temple
pendant la captivité de Louis XVI, Roi de France.
Paris, Tremblay for the Société Catholique des Bons Livres, 1825.
12mo (180 x 105 mm), pp. [iv], 191,  notes; , -296, woodcut printer’s device on title, uncut throughout and largely unopened, some dampstaining in text, in the original printed blue paper wrappers, binder’s thead tied off between pp. 156 and 157, two small tears to the corners of the wrappers, with loss but not touching the printed area, some scuffing and staining to the wrappers, printed on both covers and the spine, where the lettering has been misjudged and consequently extends beyond the spine onto the covers, the covers printed within outer frames of fleurons enclosing the title on the front and the notice to subscribers on the rear, the spine with title, imprint and woodcut ornaments.
An interesting copy of this provincially printed edition of Cléry’s first-hand account of the captivity of the royal family during the French Revolution. Cléry was… (more)
An interesting copy of this provincially printed edition of Cléry’s first-hand account of the captivity of the royal family during the French Revolution. Cléry was Louis XVI’s valet de chambre and attended the king during his imprisonment in the Temple. The present work is an intimate portrayal of the days leading up to the king’s execution on 21st January 1793. The second part contains accounts of the other members of the royal family held in the prison: ‘Détails curieux et exacts sur les quatre prisonniers du temple qui ont survécu a sa majesté Louis XV’, starting with Marie-Antoinette (pp. 229 - 254), then Madame Elisabeth (pp. 255-264), Louis XVII (pp. 265-283) and Madame Royale, the Duchess of Angoulême (pp. 285-296). First published in 1798, this was a hugely popular work which was frequently reprinted.
An attractive copy in the original printed wrappers. A nice anomoly of this edition, which was printed in the provinces, in Senlis, for the Catholic Society of Good Books in Paris, is that the spine width has been significantly misjudged by the printers so that more than two letters of ‘Journal’ are visible only on the sides.
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.More details Price: £500.00
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.More details Price: £500.00
Le Bachelier de Salamanque,
ou les Memoires de D. Cherubin de la Ronda, tirés d'un Manuscrit Espagnol, par Monsieur Le Sage.
Paris, Valleyre, 1736.
First Edition. 12mo, (155 x 84mm), pp. [viii], 378, , with three engraved plates, one to accompany each section, outer corner of text dampstained in the last few leaves and some light browning to the prelims, in contemporary or slightly later free-style tree calf with an attractive simple gilt border on the covers, the spine stained green, gilt in compartments with gilt lettering, marbled endpapers, Chiswick bookplate.
A handsome copy of the first part, containing the first three books, of one of the most popular picaresque novels of the French eighteenth century.… (more)
A handsome copy of the first part, containing the first three books, of one of the most popular picaresque novels of the French eighteenth century. Although it is stated on p. 378, ‘Fin du troisième & dernier Livre’, a second volume appeared two years later, containing books four to six (La Haye, Pierre Gosse, 1738).
Although not in quite the same league as his Gil Blas, Le Sage's Bachelier de Salamanque shares many of the same features, from the successful formula of the hero's many adventures loosely bound together to the enduringly popular Spanish theme common to many of Le Sage's novels. There were numerous editions throughout the century and beyond.
'He was a writer for his time, an artisan of letters, and a supporter of the modernes in the Quérelle. He wrote for a broad public, and Gil Blas in particular was much appreciated by readers of many countries for two centuries. Critics have sometimes viewed him rather more patronisingly, condemning the diffuse nature of his narratives and the banality or superficiality of his morality and his psychology. Yet he is in many ways a fascinating witness of his period. His writing is sharp and up to date, he has a gift for the dramatic scene and a keen eye for the masks and pretences of a corrupt society. While reusing old literary material, he nevertheless gives us a strong sense of life in a real, unidealized world' (Peter France in the New Oxford Companion to Literature in French).
Jones p. 59; Cioranescu 39528 (giving p. 383); Cohen-de Ricci c. 635; Tchemerzine VII, 206.More details Price: £250.00
Avec le Passe-Tems des Mousquetaires, ou le Tems Perdu. Par M.D.B**.
The Hague, 1760.
[bound after:] MASSAC, Pierre-Louis-Raymond de (1728-1770).
Les Amusemens des Gens d’Esprit. A Amsterdam, chez Arkstée & Merkus. 1756.
Second Editions. Two works in one volume, 12mo (164 x 90 mm), Massac: pp. xii, 268; Mailhol & Des Biefs: pp. [iv], -158, some pages considerably browned, in contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco spine lettered in gilt, with the later bookplate of Mr. le Vicomte Emile de Guizelin.
The second edition of a scarce libertine novel by Gabriel Mailhol, first published in 1755 when the vogue for the new open carriage was the… (more)
The second edition of a scarce libertine novel by Gabriel Mailhol, first published in 1755 when the vogue for the new open carriage was the theme of several novels. Told in the first person, the novel tells of young Nina’s sentimental education, starting with her first encounter with a young man at a dance. Her parents having died when she was six, her guardian, Madame Daronvile, enlightens her about the facts of love, telling her that from this moment all men become her potential lovers and all women her enemies. Using thinly veiled language about her colourful and much desired cabriolet, Nina relates her adventures as she lends her cabriolet during the night to the young man of the dance, Dorincour, and then during the day to a financier, Olimpidore, where she drives with him to Cythère, his house in the country. This is a very scarce novel, with no earlier editions listed in OCLC.
Reprinted as a companion text to Mailhol’s Le Cabriolet is Louis Desbief’s Le Passe-Tems des mousquetaires, ou le tems perdu, first published circa 1755. Originally consisting of fifty licentious verse contes by Desbiefs followed by a collection of epigrams by various authors, the present edition contains sixty verse contes but does not contain the lengthy section of epigrams by other authors. There were two undated editions of the original work, with slightly different titles (the other being subtitled ‘ou les Loisirs bien Employés’ in place of ‘ou le temps perdu’) both dated by Cioranescu as 1755. The work was reprinted by Gay in 1866. Cioranescu gives priority to the Berg-op-Zoom (Frankfurt) edition, a priority born out by the preface, in which the author discusses his title. The first part of the title was suggested by the indulgence of ‘some of those gentlemen’, ie musketeers, and ‘Le Tems Perdu’ was even more appropriate, he suggests, as he has lost his time in making the book and others - perhaps the whole of France, he wishes - will lose theirs in reading it.
‘Ce recueil est de Louis Desbiefs, avoué, né Dole en 1733, mort en 1760. Les contes, la plupart très licencieux, facilement mais lâchement écrits, sont de Desbiefs’ (Viollet-Leduc, quoted in Gay).
Bound at the head of the volume is the scarce first edition of a book of philosophical musings by the lawyer and bee-keeper, Pierre-Louis-Raymond de Massac. Massac’s first work, Les Amusemens des gens d’esprit is divided into fifty chapters, covering a wide range of subjects including books, marriage, women, love, flattery, the English, luxury, agriculture and philosophy.
Mailhol: OCLC lists BN, BL, Wurttembergische Landesbibliothek, Princeton & Chicago. No copies of earlier editions of Le Cabriolet in OCLC; Des Biefs 1755 edition held at Koninklijke Bibliotheek and Universitätsbibliothek München.
See MMF 55.29; Cioranescu 41349; for Des Biefs see Cioranescu 23092-23093; Gay II 661-662;
Massac: OCLC lists Cambridge, Bodliean, Dresden and Chicago only. Cioranescu 43457.More details Price: £3,000.00
Le Guerrier Philosophe;
ou Memoires de M. le Duc de. Contenant des reflexions sur divers Caracteres de l’Amour, & quelques Anecdotes curieuses de la derniere Guerre des Francois en Italie.
First Edition. Two volumes in one, (168 x 95 mm), pp. [iv], xxii, 324; [iv], 535, ie. 335,  errata, tear from second half-title with loss of corner to margin but not touching text, in contemporary blonde polished calf, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label lettered in gilt, with an unknown heraldic bookplate, red edges and marbled endpapers.
A delightful copy of a scarce novel by the Marseilles born playwright, Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, author of numerous plays and several translations and supposed memoirs. Presented… (more)
A delightful copy of a scarce novel by the Marseilles born playwright, Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, author of numerous plays and several translations and supposed memoirs. Presented in the form of a military memoir, the novel is a highly digressive and entertaining work, containing anecdotes on romantic liaisons, tales of derring-do in the army and fictitious accounts of an officer’s life on the battlefield. With a long preface in which Jourdan discusses the history and uses of the novel with reference to Plutarch, ‘Servantés’, Scarron and the elegant translation into French of Joseph Andrews.
Jourdan’s most successful work was L’Ecole des Prudes, which was performed at the Italian Theatre in 1750. Another edition of the present novel was published in 1744, in Amsterdam ‘aux dépens de la Compagnie’.
OCLC lists Gottingen and Mecklenburg only.
Cioranescu 34737; Jones p. 85.More details Price: £1,200.00