8vo., pp. 436, [12, table, errata, advertisement]; light offset from binding onto title-page, light waterstain to corner of pp. 313-21, but a very good copy in contemporary mottled calf, later label, spine and corners a little rubbed.
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The Memoirs of the Duke de La Rochefoucault. Containing the private Intrigues for obtaining the Regency after the Death of Louis the Thirteenth, King of France, the Wars of Paris, and Guienne, the Imprisonment of the Princes. Cardinal Mazarin’s Letter to Monsieur de Brienne. Articles agreed upon by His Royal Highness and Monsieur le Prince, for the Expulsion of Cardinal Mazarin. An Apologie for the Duke de Beaufort. Memoirs of Monsieur de la Chastre.
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.
La Rochefoucauld disowned the book, and modern scholarship has concluded that ‘less than half is by him, and that very defective. The “Wars of Paris” (pp. 25-113) is spurious; the “Retreat of the Duke de Longueville” (pp. 113-128) is by Saint-Evremond; the “Apologie for the Duke de Beaufort” (pp. 299-320) is by Guillaume Girard’ (see ESTC). The genuine memoirs were not published until 1804.
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