18 November 2014
[CHORIER, Nicolas (1612-1692).] L'Académie des Dames. Venice [but Amsterdam]: Pierre Arretin, n.d. [c.1775.]
Octavo (204 x 122 mm). Engraved title, engraved frontispiece and 35 engraved plates by Delcroche. (Occasional negligible soiling.) Full red morocco by Lortic, signed, spine with raised bands and lettered directly in gilt, pastedowns lined with morocco with gilt turn-ins, free endpapers lined with warm brown silk, gilt edges (extremities rubbed).
A HANDSOME 18TH-CENTURY EDITION, FINELY BOUND BY LORTIC AND WITH STRONG IMPRESSIONS OF THE PRINTS. L'Academie des dames is among the earliest erotic texts in a European language. Foxon, writing of its power at the time of publication, notes: ‘the plot continually provides new shocks... as stable figures such as mothers and husbands are disclosed as having highly irregular relationships... as a demonstration of the falsity and hypocrisy of [social and cultural] appearances it is brilliantly anarchistic’. Pia confused this rare Amsterdam edition with the first French translation, which caused a muddle among bibliographers. The prints, sometimes attributed to de Hooghe are actually by Delcroche, who illustrated a number of classics in the 1770s and 1780s, including Fanny Hill. AE and ABPC record only three copies of this edition at auction, including the Nordmann and Hayoit copies. Apollinaire Enfer, 277; Dutel A-15; Eros invaincu 16; Foxon Libertine Literature, NY: 1965, p.38; Gay-Lemonnyer I, 10; Pia Enfer, 346.
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