12mo, pp. xviii, [ii], 556; woodcut device on title; light spotting in places, but largely clean and fresh throughout; in nineteenth century half dark green morocco, marbled boards, spine gilt in compartments between raised bands, marbled edges; very slight rubbing to joints, but still a good copy.
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Le fablier françois, ou élite des meilleurs fables depuis La Fontaine.
First edition, rare, of what has a claim to be the first comprehensive collection of French fables from the period after La Fontaine, assembled by the diplomat, lawyer, and historian Louis-Théodore Herissant (1743–1811). Collecting together fables from writers both famous (Voltaire, J.B. Rousseau, Boileau) and obscure, the work includes many hitherto unpublished fables, in many cases offered to Herissant by their authors for this anthology, as well as others that have appeared in publications such as the Mercure de France. In all, we find 323 fables, divided into sixteen sections, including a final section of ‘Apologies Orientaux‘, kept separate as a comparatively recent genre (although there is little of the Orient about them). The volume concludes with brief biographical sketches of the (known) authors.
Hérissant was the author of various works including a biography of Malebranche, an essay on taste, a comedy, and an historical survey of German literature; he studied German law and was appointed secretary of the legation to the Diet of Regensburg in 1772.
Outside Continental Europe, OCLC records copies at Stanford, Duke, Brown, and the London Library.
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JUSSIEU, Laurent Pierre de.
Antoine et Maurice. Ouvrage qui a obtenu le prix proposé par la Société Royale pour l’amélioration des prisons, en faveur du meilleur livre destiné à être donné en lecture aux détenus.
First edition, rare, of this unsurprisingly moralising novel by the writer, geologist, and natural historian Laurent Pierre de Jussieu (1792-1866), written in response to a competition held by the Royal Society of the Improvement of Prisons to find the best book to circulate amongst inmates.
An 1837 note in the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal explains: “Among other means of effecting this object [the reform and moral improvement of prisoners], one of the most effectual was conceived to be the preparation and distribution among the prisoners, of books, the perusal of which might impart an abhorrence of vice, and create a taste for virtue; and books of this description were soon composed by able writers, and the attempt is represented to have been attended with the happiest effects. At the head of the writings now mentioned, M. Parent Duchatelet informs us public opinion had long placed two productions of M. Jussieu, one entitled Simon of Nantua, the other Antony and Maurice”. And indeed the novel, detailing the contrasting fortune of Antoine and the thief who led him into a life of crime, Maurice, was popular, seeing several editions not only in French but also in German. It remains unclear, of course, quite how enthusiastically it was received by its intended audience.
OCLC records no copies of any edition outside Continental Europe.
VALENTINE, James (photographer).
Album of Scottish views, mainly of Stirling and surroundings.
A handsome example of a topographical view album by the Scottish photographer James Valentine, focusing on Stirling and the surrounding areas.
The images include ‘Stirling Castle from King’s Knott’ and several other views of Stirling Castle, ‘Vale of Monteith from Stirling’; ‘Bruce statue looking to Wallace’; ‘Windings of the Forth and Abbey Craig, Stirling’; ‘King Street, Stirling’; ‘Cambuskenneth Abbey and tomb of James III’; ‘Field of Bannockburn from Gillies Hill’; ‘On the Allan Water’; ‘Kier House’; ‘Dunblane Cathedral from river’; ‘Doune Castle’; ‘Callander from west’; ‘Silver Strand, Loch Katrine’; ‘Ellen’s Isle and Ben Venue, Loch Katrine’; ‘Luss Pier, Loch Lomond’; ‘Camstradden Bay, Loch Lomond’; and ‘Inversnaid Falls’.
James Valentine (1815–1879) was an engraver and photographer from Dundee who was one of the original members of the Edinburgh Photographic Society, founded in 1861. By the end of the 1850s he had established himself as a portrait photographer and then, after instruction under Francis Frith in Reigate, Surrey, he began to photograph landscapes as well.
He converted a barouche into a mobile dark-room and travelled around Scotland building a portfolio of topographical views which brought him to Queen Victoria’s attention in 1864 and eventually led to him being granted a royal warrant in late 1867. As ‘photographer to the Queen’ he sold individual albums, such as the present one, for prices ranging from half a guinea to 12 guineas aimed at upper and middle class tourists. James Valentine had two sons who followed him into the business and were constantly experimenting with new techniques; the firm became the longest-running photographic publishers in Britain.