LE CHOYSELAT, Prudent. Discours oeconomique, non moins utile que recreatif. Paris: par les Colporteurs,1585.
Small 8º (159 x 94mm). Title arabesque, woodcut initials. (Very light marginal waterstains on the first four leaves.) 18th-century red morocco gilt, sides surrounded with gilt triple fillets, flat gilt spine with longitudinal lettering (light rubbing of extremities).
A VERY RARE BOOK ON RURAL ECONOMICS AND A LOVELY COPY FROM THE LIBRARY OF THE DUC DE LA VALLIÈRE.
The first known edition of this treatise was published in 1569 in Paris by Nicolas Chesneau, who two years previously had obtained the royal privilege for seven years. Le Choyselat, royal prosecutor of Sezanne (Champagne), apparently wrote only one other book containing devotional verses, of which only an English edition survives (Cathemerinon Liber; printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1523). By contrast, the present text was printed again and again until 1800 due to its unfading universal validity. In this work Le Choyselat addresses a friend who has lost all his fortune in the course of the civil wars. He recommends a means of recovery by which his friend would raise chickens. With reasonable effort and intelligence, Le Choyselat calculates, this friend could make an annual profit of 4500 livres based on an initial investment of 500 livres; he has only to follow the book's good advice and guidance on how to foster and nourish hens and roosters. The book begins with a dedicatory letter to the comte de Rochefort, where the author explains his intentions, followed by a laudatory poem entitled 'Sur le discours oeconomique de Prudent de Choiselat', signed by François de Belleforest. The author includes anecdotes in his treatise wherever possible and bases his enormous erudition on a huge number of authors, all of whom he lists at the end. The list of 'Autheurs recherchez & citez en ce present traicté' mentions Plato, Aristotle, Pliny, Plutarch and others up to Erasmus, Belon, Budé and even Rabelais.
Brunet I, 1852; Rahir, Bibliothèque de l'amateur, 369; Huzard, Notice analytique et bibliographique de l’ouvrage de Prudent Le Choyselat sur les avantages que l’on peut retirer des poules, Paris: imprimerie de Mme Huzard, 1830; USTC no. 88021.