Voyage et Aventures de Lord Villiam Carisdall en Icarie, traduits de l'Anglais de Francis Adams par Th. Dufruit, Maitre de Langues.

Voyage et Aventures de Lord Villiam Carisdall en Icarie…
Voyage et Aventures de Lord Villiam Carisdall en Icarie, traduits de l'Anglais de Francis Adams par Th. Dufruit, Maitre de Langues.

Paris: Hippolyte Souverain, 1840.

Two volumes in one, octavo, with both half-titles, red quarter morocco with decorated boards, gilt title and bands on spine.

A handsome copy of the very rare first edition of this key work, an imaginary voyage to a radical socialist utopia, and the 'most popular nineteenth century exemplar' (Manuel) of its type. This first edition was actually printed in 1839 (not 1840 as appears on the title-page) in a very limited number of copies, apparently for private distribution by the author. The next year the work appeared under its more familiar title Voyage en Icarie, with Cabet's name on the title.

A handsome copy of the very rare first edition of this key work, an imaginary voyage to a radical socialist utopia, and the 'most popular nineteenth century exemplar' (Manuel) of its type. This first edition was actually printed in 1839 (not 1840 as appears on the title-page) in a very limited number of copies, apparently for private distribution by the author. The next year the work appeared under its more familiar title Voyage en Icarie, with Cabet's name on the title.

Cabet (1788-1856), lawyer and revolutionary, was exiled from France for his political criticism. He travelled to England where he wrote this sprawling utopian adventure. It had an enormous impact, especially in the United States where it was taken as the manifesto for a series of short-lived socialist communities, most famously the Icarian city at Nauvoo, the old Mormon town in Illinois. Cabet himself was President of this society for some eight years, but like all of its successors, internal problems led to splintering and collapse.

Nordhoff visited the Icaria experiment when he was researching The Communistic Societies, and felt pained witnessing the chasm between the 'comfort and elegance [Cabet] so glowingly described and the dreary poverty of the life which a few determined men and women have there chosen to follow'. The historian is bitter about Cabet himself - 'little more than a vain dreamer' - but touchingly sombre about the societies he helped found: 'I could not help feeling pity, if not for the men, yet for the women and children of the settlement, who have lived through all the penury and hardship of these many years'.

This copy has the two characteristic printing errors of the early first edition (p. 402 misnumbered "378"; second title-page with "Villiam"). Some copies are known with a frontispiece, not present here.

Goldsmiths', 31818; Lewis, p. 35 (second edition); Manuel, p. 376; Negley, 174; Prudhommeaux, Icarie et son Fondateur Etienne Cabet, 35; Sabin, 9788.

Price (AUD): $5,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #3005385

Condition Report