12mo, pp. , 159, [1 (blank)], with engraved frontispiece; a little spotting and creasing, a few light marks; good in contemporary calf, covers with triple gilt fillet border, and frame and central lozenge in blind, spine decorated and lettered in gilt, marbled edges and endpapers; some wear to joints, spine ends, and corners, adhesions to endpapers; inscribed to title ‘don de l’auteur'.
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Voyage aux grottes d’Arcy, suivi de poésies fugitives et de pensées détachées. Par A. Deville, professeur d’histoire naturelle à l’école centrale de l’Yonne.
Scarce first edition, presented by the author, of this curious work comprising a description of the famous caves at Arcy-sur-Cure in France, alongside various poetical fancies, by the natural history professor and versifier Albéric Deville (1774–1832).
The first half of the volume comprises a description of a trip from Auxerre to nearby Arcy-sur-Cure, in Burgundy, undertaken by Deville and his companions, during which they visited the series of caves now famous for their prehistoric wall paintings. Deville gives an interesting account of his visit: bumping into a ‘swarm of young ladies’; getting lost when his torch is extinguished; making out fantastic shapes in the rock formations; extracting a fellow tourist stuck in a narrow tunnel; admiring the Grotte des Fées (Fairies’ cave); and even taking away a few stalactites as souvenirs. His accompanying footnotes refer to earlier visits to the caves by Buffon, and to Maurice Spillard, who claimed to have walked further than any pedestrian traveller of his day, particularly in North America.
The second half of the volume is devoted to love poems, epigrams, a short story, and various reflections.
No copies traced in the UK. OCLC records only one copy in the US, at the Library of Congress.
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