18 November 2014
[BOYER d'ARGENS, Jean-Baptiste (1703-1771), attributed to.] Thérèse philosophe, ou Mémoires Pour servir à l’Histoire de D. Dirrag, & de Mademoiselle Eradice. London [but Paris]: [Cazin], 1785.
Two volumes, duodecimo (130 x 80 mm). 20 engraved plates, including the frontispiece, by Elluin after Borel. (Occasional light browning, occasional light soiling.) Contemporary marbled calf, flat spines gilt in compartments, red morocco labels lettered in gilt, edges gilt, marbled endpapers (corners rubbed, one cover with small surface loss, one spine panel with light flaking).
A VERY GOOD COPY OF THE CAZIN EDITION, ‘the most beautiful edition’ (Cohen-DeRicci), of one of the earliest pornographic novels in any European language. The superb engravings are by François-Rolland Elluin (1745-c.1810) after the drawings of Antoine Borel (1743-c.1810): the partnership responsible for some of the finest illustrated erotic editions of the 18th century. Thérèse philosophe builds on the notorious Girard-Cadière scandal, a subject reprised by Huxley in his The Devils of Loudun. In the notes for his unfinished last novel, The Story of a Great Sinner, Dostoevsky writes that Thérèse is the book which caused his hero to go astray. Cohen-DeRicci 735; Dutel A-1092; Gay-Lemonnyer III, 1211.
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