12mo, pp. x, [ii] advertisement, 451,  Privilege du Roi; a very good, clean copy in contemporary mottled sheep, upper joint starting, the very tips of the spine worn off, corners worn; 1797 ownership inscription on the front free endpaper, by Marie Anne Michel Adelaide Condray De Merant.
US $2107 €1712
First edition of this rare utopian voyage written by a woman for a readership of women.
In the author’s note, Loquet states that she wrote ‘this pious fiction’ at the age of fifteen, and hopes that the reader will excuse ‘her sex and her age’, though the novel went through some mature reworking before publication. The peculiarity of it being a work written by a very young woman explicitly for ladies is remarked upon by the publisher, who describes it as ‘un ouvrage tout neuf, non quant à la doctrine, mais quant à la maniere de la traiter’. He sees in the book the multifarious appeals of the best novels: interesting turns of events, moral instruction and inspirational characters; and he prepares the reader to enjoy an imaginative style rich with ‘ingenious emblems, allegorical figures, poetical descriptions, and simple and pathetic discourses’.
The book enjoyed enduring success and repeated editions for three decades; it was also translated into English.
OCLC records one copy in North America, at Chicago, with two further copies in Europe, at Augsburg and BNF.
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First edition. Like her better-known older sister Anne, Annabella Plumptre (‘Bell’) was a translator and novelist. Their father was Robert Plumptre, prebendary of Norwich and president of Queen’s College, Cambridge. They began their writing careers as part of the Enfield circle where participation in private theatricals may have contributed to Bell’s easy assumption of different characters and idiolects in this collection of stories.
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Les femmes sçavantes ou bibliotheque des dames qui traite des sciences qui conviennent aux dames, de la conduite de leurs etudes, des livres qu’elles peuvent lire, et l’histoire de celles qui ont excellé dans les sciences. Par monsieur N. C.
Rare first edition of this anonymous work on female education, including a chapter on ‘femmes sçavantes’ from antiquity to the author’s own time, advice on selecting, arranging and conserving a library of books, and recommended reading in theology, philosophy, rhetoric, poetry, history, and the beaux arts.