18 November 2014
Manuscript transcription of Critique des jolies femmes, des principaux bordels, et maisons auxiliaires de Paris ou lettres d’un Provençal à son épouse, France, 19th Century.
Duodecimo (154 x 100 mm), 92 pages in an italic hand, black ink on laid paper, with one hand-coloured aquatint as frontispiece, and three hand-coloured engraved plates. (Occasional minor spotting in some margins, the frontispiece with a shallow folding crease.) Bound in 19th-century red half morocco, spine titled in gilt, top edge gilt (extremities lightly rubbed). Provenance: Milton Luros (sold, Parke-Bernet Galleries, 27 April 1971, lot 112).
A manuscript transcription of one of the rarest and most significant French erotic books of the early 19th Century, a repressive period during which few were published. This manuscript appears to follow the text of the first edition or possibly one of the 19th-century reprints; the frontispiece derives from that of the first edition of 1805, and the plates inserted at the time of binding are from a mid 19th-century edition of Vingt ans de la vie d’un jeune homme. For over a century after the first publication of Critique there was much debate about its authorship and date of composition, until the only recorded copy of the 1805 edition recently resurfaced (see lot 68). Prior to this it was thought that Frederick Hankey (1833-1883) had written the Critique, an attribution made by Lemonnyer who knew the work only in a later edition.
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