8vo., pp. 55, ; a very good copy, disbound.
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: by a Sicilian Gentleman resident in Paris, to his Friend in his own Country. Containing an useful and impartial Critique on that City, and the French Nation. Translated from the Original.
First edition of this translation, very rare, of a work first printed in French in Paris in 1700 (see below) and, in a different translation, in English in 1704 as An agreeable Criticism of the City of Paris.
In nine letters the ‘Sicilian’ author paints a vivid picture of the dirty streets, noisy church-bells, handsome women, grand libraries, and modish populace of late-seventeenth-century Paris. There is a long passage on the fine character of Parisian women – their liberty ‘is here more unbounded, than that of the Arabs in their Strollings’; they run shops and cozen customers like the best, and despite their love for little dogs keep husbands and lovers alike under their thumbs.
On the downside, rents are high, valets insolent, the streets thronged with attorneys and abbés, and the inhabitants wilfully unintelligible: ‘They eat Half of their Words. They write not as they speak, and have a Pleasure in speaking so as not to be understood’. There are descriptions of the Foire St. Germain and the Tuileries, and of the book trade: ‘There is no City in the World where there are so many new Books ... [but] the Booksellers grow rich without understanding the Books they sell ...’.
Authorship of the Letters remains uncertain. In 1700 they appeared in Saint Evremoniana (pp. 374-425), a collection of spurious works attributed to St. Évremond but probably written by Charles Cotolendi. In an edition of 1884 they were attributed for the first time to Giovanni Paolo Marana, the author of Letters writ by a Turkish Spy, an attribution accepted with reservations by the latest editor, Guido Almansi (Lettera di un Siciliano, Palermo, 1984). A second edition of the present translation, also 1749, adds, ambiguously, that the work is ‘translated from the original, by the author of Heaven open to all Men’, that is, the deist Pierre Cuppé (1664?-1748?).
ESTC shows four copies only: BL, Queens’ College Cambridge, National Trust (location unspecified); and Boston Public.
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Apologie pour Iehan Chastel Parisien, execute a mort, et pour les peres & escholliers, de la Societé de Iesus, bannis du royaume de France. Contre l’arrest de Parlement, donné contre eux a Paris, le 29 Decembre, 1594. Diuisée en cinq parties. Par François de Verone Constantin.
First edition of Boucher’s pseudonymous apology for Jean Châtel’s attempted assassination of Henri IV, described by the author as an ‘acte heroique’. Boucher (1548-1644) was prior and rector of the Sorbonne and an active member of the Catholic League who openly incited violent revolt against Henry III and Henry IV, refusing to accept the latter’s conversion to Catholicism. The Apologie was written during his exile in the Netherlands. On 27 December 1594, the nineteen-year-old Châtel attacked Henri IV with a knife in the chamber of his mistress Gabrielle d’Estrées, cutting the king’s lip and breaking a tooth. While Châtel was publicly tortured and dismembered, an enquiry discovered that he had studied with the Jesuits at the Collège de Clermont. The Jesuits were quickly accused of supporting Châtel’s attempted regicide; Père Guignard, the Jesuits’ librarian in Paris, was publicly executed and the Jesuits were expelled from France by parliamentary decree. In addition to defending Châtel, Boucher deplores the actions against the Jesuits and encourages a new attempt on Henri’s life.
SWIFTIANA [TORBUCK, John].
A Collection of Welsh Travels and Memoirs of Wales. Containing I. The Briton Describ’d, or a Journey thro’ Wales: Being a pleasant Relation of D__n S___t’s Journey to that ancient Kingdom … II. A Trip to North Wales, by a Barrister of the Temple. III. A Funeral Sermon, preach’d by the Parson of Langwillin. IV. Muscipila; or the Welsh Mouse-Trap, a Poem. The Whole collected by J. T. a mighty Lover of Welsh Travels.
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