8vo, pp. 292, ; a very good copy in original cloth, original illustrated dust-jacket by Václav Požárek.
US $533 €472
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First edition of Kundera’s first novel, The Joke, which gives a satirical account of the political atmosphere in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. It tells the story of a young Communist whose life is ruined because of a harmless, joking reference to Trotsky in a postcard to his girlfriend. The Joke, together with all Kundera’s books, was banned after the Soviet invasion in 1968. A film adaptation by Jaromil Jireš with Kundera’s approval, also 1968, was similarly banned.
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EUCHERIUS, Johannes (pseud.).
Gratiarum actio. Wirtembergensibus et Tubingensibus verbi ministris; qui censuris Patriarche Constantinopolitani adversus Confessionem Augustanam scriptis... Additus libellus D. Augustini de ebrietate cavenda iisdem dicatus.
Very rare early imprint from Poznań, one of the oldest and most important cities in Poland, a Catholic stronghold. There Johann Wolrab, Nikolaus’ eldest son, founded the second city printing press in 1579. Gratiarum actio had first appeared in 1584 in two productions printed in Krakow and Poznań, both amounting to four pages. All these three imprints are extremely rare. The text of the Gratiarum actio is followed by St. Augustine’s and St Ambrose’s tracts on temperance.
[COURTILZ DE SANDRAS, Gatien de.]
Les dames dans leur naturel, ou la galanterie sans façon. Sous le regne du Grand Alcandre.
First edition, uncommon, of this story, ‘found in a cabinet, long after it had been written’ by the French novelist and pamphleteer Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras (1644–1712), nowadays best known for his semi-fictionalised Mémoires de Mr. d’Artagnan, which heavily influenced Dumas’ later work. Despite its claims of antiquity, the reign of the ‘Grand Alcandre’ in which Les dames dans leur naturel is set is clearly that of Louis XIV, and the novel satirises the court and the women at it in a way that echoes Bussy-Rabutin’s Histoire amoureuse des Gaules of two decades previous.