12mo., pp. , 159, ; a very good copy in eighteenth-century calf, rubbed, spine label wanting; clear-cut armorial bookplate to front pastedown of Edward Blount of Blagdon (d. 1726).
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Aristippus, or, Monsieur de Balsac’s Masterpiece, being a Discourse concerning the Court … Englished by R.W.
First edition in English of Aristippe (1657), a treatise on wisdom in political administration dedicated to Queen Christina of Sweden, who was an admirer. Balzac was particularly reputed for the quality of his prose, seen as raising it to the same perfection as Malherbe did for French verse. At the end is an apposite extract from an earlier work, The elegant Combat (1634), comprising his conversations with Pierre du Moulin. Wing B 612.
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LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, François, Duc de.
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First edition in English, translated from Mémoires de M. D.L.R. sur les brigues à la mort de Louys XIII (1662). At court in his earlier years La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) took an active part in the cabals and rivalries that surrounded Richelieu and Louis XIII, and subsequently in the Fronde rebellion against Mazarin. His political activities came to an end after he was wounded in the fighting in Paris in 1652. Living in retirement he began to write his Mémoires, not so much an autobiography as an account of the court intrigues and a portrait of his fellow aristocrats. Mémoires circulated privately among his friends until its unauthorized printing in 1662 brought the author both fame and trouble.
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Second edition, unrecorded, published in the same year as the first – apparently from the same setting of type with the title-page altered to add the edition statement.