- Tag = Utopias
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
Le Voyageur Philosophe
dans un Pais inconnu aux habitans de la Terre. Par Mr. de Listonai. Tome Premier [-Second].
Amsterdam, aux dépens de l'Editeur, 1761.
First Edition. Two volumes, 12mo, (182 x 105mm), pp. xxiv, 339,  errata; vi, 384, title pages in red and black, as often with this book, some of the gatherings were printed on cheaper paper and are consequently browned (Vol I, F & N, Vol. 2, N), in contemporary mottled calf, spines gilt in compartments, brown and black morocco labels lettered and numbered in gilt, marbled endpapers, red edges.
An extraordinary philosophical voyage in the form of a dream sequence to the land of the Sélénites on the moon. The voyage is made by… (more)
An extraordinary philosophical voyage in the form of a dream sequence to the land of the Sélénites on the moon. The voyage is made by means of one of the earliest fictional aeronautical devices, a complex interplanetary flying machine which takes passengers across the hyperboric region 'à force d'x et d'y' and is flown by a specialist pilot, 'intrépide calculateur de l'infini'. In addition to their flying machines, the Sélénites have a technologically advanced society, with running water in all the houses and air conditioning in the hospitals. There is no concept of ownership, of 'mien' and 'tien', and so there is no crime. In the education of children Villeneuve has a particularly radical outlook, with all the children brought up to be ambidextrous and both sexes educated to the same extent. The Sélénites have also managed to preserve some works that have been lost on earth, including Cicero's Republic and considerable fragments from the library of Alexandria.
Hartig criticises some of Villeneuve's fictional devices as being unoriginal, such as the hero's transportation from Rome to Paris in 48 minutes, or to Japan in 16 or 17 hours, achieved by the author's being suspended in air while the earth rotates. This apparently was an idea first advanced by Fontenelle in 1686 and subsequently refuted. For all that, it is a nice conceit and, scientific accuracy apart, it makes for good fantasy. Hartig further condemns the work for its second volume, which contains only philosophical digressions, 'd'intérêt médiocre'. But Versins devotes a considerable amount of time to the work, which he hails as 'très étonnant' in many aspects, in being pre-Mercier as a utopia set in future time and in being pre-Tiphaigne de la Roche in its communications theories and in its ground-breaking introduction of the astronaut. Hartig adds that the work was severely criticised in the Journal encyclopédique, 1761. Albert Soboul, in his Utopies aux Siècle des Lumières, calls this work 'the perfect realization of the age of enlightenment' (see Lewis, p. 195).
Hartig p. 57; not in Gove; Lewis, Utopian Literature in the Pennsylvania State University Libraries, p. 195; see Versins p. 540.More details Price: £2,500.00
Memoirs of The Year Two Thousand Five Hundred.
Translated from the French by W. Hooper, M.D. In two volumes. Vol. I [-II].
Dublin, W. Wilson, 1772.
First Dublin Edition. Two volumes, 12mo (170 x 105 mm), pp. [vi], iii, [i], -184, [iv], 200, some scattered browning in the text, in contemporary mottled calf, plain spines with raised bands, red morocco labels lettered and ruled in gilt, some wear to extremities, with early shelfmark labels on the pastedowns.
A handsome copy of the scarce first Irish edition of one of the most important utopian novels of the French eighteenth century. Set in Paris… (more)
A handsome copy of the scarce first Irish edition of one of the most important utopian novels of the French eighteenth century. Set in Paris in the twenty-fifth century (in the French original the year is 2440), the novel is a direct critique of the establishment through the familiar device of an imaginary society. First published in 1770, it ran to enormous numbers of editions in France and was amongst the best-sellers of underground literature. Trusson called Mercier 'the father of the modern utopia', because his was the first utopia set in future time.
‘Mercier calls for “that blissful period, when man shall have regained his courage, his liberty, his independence, and his virtue!” He adopts the now-familiar technique of having his hero fall asleep and awaken many years in a different society. The twenty-fifth century is very different from the tyrannical, class-ridden eighteenth: revolution has occurred - in this case through the efforts of a benevolent prince; a new, rational civilisation has been developed. Although society is basically agricultural, great stress is placed upon scientific knowledge and teh development of more advanced technology. Scientific invention and discovery are regarded as taking advantage of the supreme power’s gift to mankind. Two aspects of this otherwise enlightened society have long troubled liberal thinkers: the first of these is that all knowledge has been condensed into a very small number of books and all books not on the approved list have been consigned to the flames; the second is that little imagination is required to see the censorship that removes from history ‘those reigns where there was nothing to be seen but wars and cruelties’ becoming the kind of alteration of history one finds in such dystopian works as Nineteen Eighy-Four. Nonetheless, one can see the ideas of Montesquieu, Rousseau, Locke, and Voltaire in this happy society of the future, and the limitations placed on human activity are not greater than those in many utopias, both earlier and later’ (Lewis pp. 121-122).
The English translation, first published by Robinson in 1772, is by William Hooper, a minor literary figure who translated several works into English and was the author of Rational Recreations, 1774. Despite having altered the title, his translation of L'An 2440 is a fairly faithful one. He states that, as there was no particular reason that any given year should be chosen, it seemed better to him that a round number should be used, adding, 'that this is the only alteration made by the translator' (I, iii). He adds that his own notes are printed in italics to distinguish them from Mercier's original footnotes. In these notes, he clarifies some of the French terms, gives some historical background for the allusions, and adds his own opinions on Mercier's utopian ideals. ‘His honesty as a translator’, says Willkie, ‘is admirable' (Wilkie, p. 358).
'The earliest of Mercier's works which is still read for enjoyment and stimulation is L'An 2440 (1770), a work of political radicalism which - springing from a novel conjunction of past experience, present observation, and prophetic extrapolation - is the only genuinely creative contribution to Utopian literature in the eighteenth century' (John Renwick in The New Oxford Companion to French Literature, 1995).
ESTC n4081; Everett C. Wilkie, Mercier's L'An 2440: Its Publishing History during the Author's Lifetime, Part II: Bibliography, 1772.7; not in Gove; this edition not in Lewis, Penn State Utopian Literature, which lists five editions altogether, three in English; see Darnton 30.More details Price: £1,750.00
Politica de Dios,
y Govierno de Christo, Sacada de la Sagrada Escritura, para acierto de Rey, y Reyno en sus Acciones. Por Don Francisco de Quevedo Villegas, Cavallero del Orden de Santiago, Senor de la Torre de Juan Abad.
Madrid, Joseph Rodriguez de Escobar, 1729.
4to, (208 x 142mm), pp. [xvi], 333,  table of contents, text heavily browned in part, but externally wonderfully fresh in later eighteenth century English half calf over marbled boards, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label lettered in gilt, the Macclesfield copy with blind stamps, shelf marks and the South Library bookplate.
An attractive copy of a scarce edition of this major political essay by Quevedo, first published in 1626. This edition is published by the same… (more)
An attractive copy of a scarce edition of this major political essay by Quevedo, first published in 1626. This edition is published by the same Confraternity of St. John the Evangelist who also published an edition of his works in the same year.
‘The treatise attempts to establish the theoretical groundwork for a governmental system based on Christian ideals. The best form of government, according to Quevedo, is a monarchy, one whose authority is absolute because it issues from divine will. The king should govern using Christ as his supreme model. Much attention is paid to the qualities required of the king’s counselors, they being probably as important as the king himself. Quevedo rejects tyrannicide as the solution for an evil monarch, choosing instead to present the latter as a form of divine punishment which must be suffered in silence. The work contains few truly original ideas, its significance stemming principally from the mastery of its style as well as the great popularity it achieved’ (Bleiberg, Dictionary of the Literature of the Iberian Peninsula, II, p. 1336).
OCLC lists Columbia, DLC, Penn State and Dibam Biblioteca National de Chile.
Palau 243833.More details Price: £500.00
The English Hermit
or, the Adventures of Philip Quarll, who was lately discovered by Mr. Dorrington, a Bristol Merchant, upon an uninhabited Island; where he has lived above fifty Years, without any human Assistance, still continues to reside, an [sic] will not come away. Adorned with Cuts, and a Map of the Island.
London, John Marshall, circa 1790.
24mo, (118 x 75 mm), wood-engraved frontispiece and pp. -90, with 24 part-page woodcut illustrations throughout the text and a full-page woodcut map of the island, woodcut from another work used (wrong way up) as the final pastedown, in the original pink and gilt patterned (gilt faded) paper-covered boards, foot of spine splitting and joints fairly weak, surface of rear board rubbed and extremities a little worn, otherwise a good copy, with the booklabel of Nigel Temple.
A lovely copy of a rare edition of this famous imaginary voyage, first published in 1727. Considered to be one of the best of the… (more)
A lovely copy of a rare edition of this famous imaginary voyage, first published in 1727. Considered to be one of the best of the English imitations of Robinson Crusoe, The English Hermit was staggeringly popular, in England, throughout Europe and in America. Alternately attributed to Edward Dorrington and Alexander Bicknell, the identity of the author remained unknown until Arundell Esdaile discovered a rare edition in which the dedication was signed ‘Peter Longueville’. His hypothesis was that Longueville, angered by the publishers’ alteration of his original and their invention of Edward Dorrington, privately published his own edition in which he denounced the false changes.
Dottin described this once seminal work as a ‘genre hybride - à mi-chemin entre le récit d’aventures philosophiques et le conte de fées’. Its popularity as an adventure story is woven into the fabric of literature: George Crabbe ranked it with the Bible and Pilgrim’s Progress as books to be found in rural homes, while Dickens, Thomas Day and Charles Lamb all wrote about it. The number of editions published - in many languages - is impressive. Marshall evidently recognised the strength of its appeal to a child’s imagination and published numerous editions.
See Gumuchian 2415; Osborne I 277; Gove pp. 262-268.
ESTC n6966, at Indiana and UCLA only.More details Price: £3,000.00
Viagi de Enrique Wanton
alle Terre incognite Australi, ed al Paese delle Scimie. Ne’quali si spiegano il carattere li costumi le Scienze; e la Polizia di quegli straordinarii Abitanti. Tradotti da un manoscritto Inglese, con Figure in Rame.
Venice, Giovanni Tagier, 1749.
First Edition, Second Issue. Two volumes, 8vo (185 x 118 mm), pp. [xiv], 231,  information for the binder; [ii], 308 (without A3 in vol.1, as called for, no loss of text, the title page is a cancel); each volume with engraved frontispiece, the one to vol. 2 printed in green, and in all 22 folding plates, those in volumes 2 printed in various tints; some light foxing and browning due to paper stock; and some off-setting from the colour-printed plates; some marginal damp-staining through the final third of Vol. I, an old paper repair to lower outer corner of title page (30 x 40mm), not touching text, paper fault to II, F3 with loss of 4 letters and to foot of K3, touching a couple of letters; bound in contemporary full vellum over boards, gilt-lettered spine labels, edges sprinkled in red; a very good copy.
The scarce first edition of this extraordinary utopian imaginary voyage, one of the great rarities of the genre. Extravagantly illustrated, with two frontispieces and twenty-two… (more)
The scarce first edition of this extraordinary utopian imaginary voyage, one of the great rarities of the genre. Extravagantly illustrated, with two frontispieces and twenty-two folding plates depicting the inhabitants of the Kingdon of the Monkeys in Australia against a backdrop of glorious landscapes and architecture: a striking Renaissance version of the Planet of the Apes. In the second volume of this copy, the frontispiece and ten of the plates are stunningly printed in colour, in green, sepia, red, orange and brown. Fashioned as a translation from the English, it is an original Italian composition modelled on Gulliver’s Travels and satirising eighteenth century Venetian society. Beginning and ending in London, the narrative follows the adventures of an Englishman, Enrico Wanton and his companion Roberto, as they voyage to the uncharted regions of Australia and discover societies of monkey people and dog-faced people. In discussing the customs, economy, architecture, education and structure of society, Seriman is of course providing a satire on the excesses and corruption of the Venetian society of his day: the plates certainly show an extravagance of costume and architecture to rival any modern European city.
The remarkable plates - eleven of which in this copy are printed in colour - are by Giorgio Fossati (1706-1778), the Swiss-born architect, artist and engraver who worked on the Venetian editions of Palladio in the 1740s and published his own Storia dell’architettura in 1747. A comparison of the very few copies of the Viaggi di Enrico Wanton in Worldcat shows that none is fully printed in colour: Harvard’s copy has the frontispieces in colour, the remainder of the plates in black and white and the other copies listed either have plates printed in black and white or lack the plates entirely.
There are two issues of the first edition, not distinguished by the main bibliographical sources: one with the title-page in volume one dated 1748 and a second issue, as here, with this title-page cancelled and dated 1749. The bibliographers list this 1749 issue without comment and the only copies we have traced with the 1748 title-page are the Harvard and Yale copies (the latter lacking all plates). Two further editions followed, in 1756 and 1764, with additional text and plates.
OCLC lists a total of seven copies, only four of which are complete: Harvard (1748 issue, frontispieces in colour, folding plates in black); Yale (1748 issue, lacking all plates); State Library of New South Wales (1749 issue, plates in black); BSB Munich (1749 issue, plates in black); BN Spain (1749 issue, lacking all plates; NLS (1749 issue, vol. I only, plates in black); Miami University (1749 issue, plates in black). With thanks to Justin Croft for his research into these copies.
‘It may be claimed a place both in an Australian library and in a collection of aeronautica, and, in addition, it forms and important item in any collection of imaginary voyages’ (TLS, February 15th, 1923, p. 112, as cited by Gove). The natives of Australia are described and depicted in the plates as having the faces of monkeys. There are also plates of a circus and a bullfight.
'An imaginary voyage of great importance to Australiana collectors... Despite the fact that it is the imaginary voyage of an Englishman to Australia... it never appeared in English... Exceedingly rare and very seldom catalogued, any edition is worth adding to a collection, even at the high price which any good copy would now command’ (Davidson, A Book Collector's Notes on items relating to the Discovery of Australia, 1970, pp. 44-5).
Maxwell White, Zaccaria Seriman, 1961, p. 141, edition A; Welcher, J. K. An annotated List of Gulliveriana, 1721-1800, 1749.5; Parenti, Un Romanzo italiano del Settecento, 1948; Parenti, Luoghi di stampa falsi, p. 38; Lewis, Utopian Literature, p. 175-6; Gove, The Imaginary Voyage in Prose Fiction, pp. 314-16; Gibson & Patrick, ‘Utopias and Dystopias, 1500-1750’ in Gibson, St. Thomas More: A Preliminary Bibliography, 1961, 769; Negley, Utopian Literature: A Bibliography 1021; Sabin 79229-79232.More details Price: £14,000.00
Voyage au Monde de la Lune,
Découverte par Dominique Gonzales, Avanturier Espagnol, surnommé, Le Courier Volant. Traduit nouvellement de l’Espagnol.
Paris, Antoine de Heuqueville, 1731.
Third Edition in French. 12mo (156 x 90 mm), pp. [iv], 5-68,  approbation & privilège,  advertisements, in modern calf, spine gilt.
A scarce edition of Jean Baudoin’s popular translation of Godwin’s ground-breaking science fiction fantasy, The Man in the Moone, London, 1638. Baudoin’s translation was first… (more)
A scarce edition of Jean Baudoin’s popular translation of Godwin’s ground-breaking science fiction fantasy, The Man in the Moone, London, 1638. Baudoin’s translation was first published under the title L’homme dans la lune, ou le voyage chimérique fait au monde de la lune nouvellement descouvert, par Dominique Gonzalez, adventurier espagnol, autrement dit le Courrier volant, Paris 1648. Godwin’s work is important not only as an early interplanetary voyage with a utopian description of the society on the moon but also for its interpretation of the astronomical theories of Copernicus and Kepler. in this French translation, it was also a key inspiration for Cyrano de Bergerac’s Histoire comique contenant les Etats et Empires de la Lune, Paris 1657.
Originally published posthumously and anonymously, the work is written in the first person by the protagonist, a Spaniard called Domingo Gonzalez, who is forced to feel Spain after killing a man in a duel. In the course of his travels, he develops a flying machine powered by a species of wild swan. In attempting to escape from hostile natives, Gonzalez flies higher and higher and eventually, after a flight of twelve days, reaches and lands on the moon, where he discovers a society of tall, peaceful Christians called the Lunars. Gonzalez spends six months living in this peaceful Utopian society, before returning to earth in his swan-powered flying contraption and passing on his remarkable adventures to the Jesuits.
See Cioranescu XVII, 10464; Versins p. 32.
OCLC lists BN copy only.More details Price: £400.00
Voyages de Gulliver.
Tome Premier [-Second].
Paris, Guérin, 1727.
First French Edition, First Issue. Two volumes in one, 12mo in eights and fours, pp. [vi], [vii]-xli, [v], 123, ; -248; [vii], [i], 119, ; -289, , with four engraved plates, unsigned, one to each part, in contemporary calf, sympathetically rebacked, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label lettered in gilt, red edges, marbled endpapers, with the later bookplates of Henri Beraldi and La Goualante.
Gulliver's Travels was an overnight best-seller in France. Following swiftly on the publication of the English text in late October 1726, the first French language… (more)
Gulliver's Travels was an overnight best-seller in France. Following swiftly on the publication of the English text in late October 1726, the first French language edition, by an anonymous translator, appeared in the Hague in January 1727. This Desfontaines translation followed some three months later, in April 1727. Although it was less faithful to the original, being heavily abridged and at times almost closer to an adaptation than a translation, it was in Desfontaines’ version that Gulliver took France by storm. This is the first issue of the first appearance of that translation and the first publication of Gulliver in France. The Privilège du Roy, advertised at the foot of the imprint, had been granted to Hypolite-Louis Guérin on 20th March 1727. On the following day he shared it with two other local printers: 'faisant part du present Privilege aux Sieurs Gabriel Martin & Jacques Guérin'. Accordingly, the same printing of this first edition appears with two other imprints on the titles of both volumes.
It was in this translation by Desfontaines’ that Swift’s work had a profound influence on French literature: ‘this shoddy but elegantly written version was repeatedly reissued in France well into the late 19th century, with a record 180 editions by the 1920s’ (Paul-Gabriel Boucé). Desfontaines went on to write his famous continuation, Le Nouveau Gulliver, which was also very popular and in turn saw translations into English, German and Italian. Graebar, who says that Desfontaines’ translation ‘outshines all later ones’, suggests that it was partly the abridged nature of Desfontaines’ version that ensured its success: ‘by reducing it to the expectations of his addressees, an approach that proved immediately as well as lastingly successful’.
OCLC lists twenty copies, but only Getty, DLC, Delware, Illinois, Harvard, Princeton and Morgan in America.
Cohen-de Ricci 210; not in Cioranescu; Teerink-Scouten 383.More details Price: £800.00