Les Avantures de Jacques Sadeur dans la découverte et le voiage de la Terre Australe. Contenant les coutumes & les moeurs des Australiens…
Les Avantures de Jacques Sadeur dans la découverte et le voiage de la Terre Australe. Contenant les coutumes & les moeurs des Australiens…

Les Avantures de Jacques Sadeur…
Les Avantures de Jacques Sadeur dans la découverte et le voiage de la Terre Australe. Contenant les coutumes & les moeurs des Australiens…

Paris: Claude Barbin, 1692.

Octavo, in contemporary mottled calf, spine panelled in gilt; fine armorial bookplate on front pastedown.

A revised edition, prepared by François Raguenet, possibly from a manuscript by Foigny himself. The dangerously heretical nature of the first edition has been tempered here by concentrating on the fabulous rather than the social and political.

A revised edition, prepared by François Raguenet, possibly from a manuscript by Foigny himself. The dangerously heretical nature of the first edition has been tempered here by concentrating on the fabulous rather than the social and political.

One of the earliest and best of all imaginary voyages to Australia, Foigny's book refers to the inhabitants of his Terre Australe as "Australiens" - the first time that the term was used to describe an inhabitant of the southern continent.

Foigny (c.1650-1692) had a turbulent life. A promising career as a Franciscan monk was scotched by his 'licentious behaviour' and he was forced to flee to Geneva and Protestantism. The narrative purports to be the dying gift of the sailor Sadeur to an anonymous narrator. Twice kidnapped and four times shipwrecked, Sadeur only survives when he is plucked from the sea by a gigantic winged monster which fortuitously drops him on the shores of Western Australia. Ashore, his luck continues: as an hermaphrodite himself (the Jesuit priests called him male as a convenience) Sadeur is especially acceptable to the hermaphroditic, asexual society that he discovers. The Australians' utopian rejection of the body is responsible for their society's rationality and harmony. In this world Sadeur's curiosity and levity about the topic is considered very de trop, yet worse his 'propensity to unseemly arousal' (Rees).

As in many imaginary voyages - Swift's Houhnyhyms, and their debates about the extermination of the Yahoos represent perhaps the best known example - the perfection of the community tolerates no impurities. Thus, the otherwise detached Australians are involved in a brutal war of annihilation with the Fundian 'half-men': crucially, Sadeur cannot stomach the war, a fact only complicated when 'bored by decades of sexless bliss, rational discussions and indoctrinations, athletic exercises and peaceful gardening … [Sadeur] falls for a female among the enemy' (Friederich).This important work, which combines several major traditions, is 'a major utopia, rich in satire and iconoclasm' (Gibson) and presents a narrative response to the strict regimentation of the utopia, particularly in the context of the Pacific (Spate comments: 'in part at least a send-up of Quiros').

Although relatively more common than the 1676 and 1701 editions, this is still a very rare work on the market.

Atkinson, 'The Extraordinary Voyage in French Literature', pp. 36-86; Davidson, 'A Book Collector's Notes', pp. 41-2; Gibson, 'St. Thomas More... with a Bibliography of Utopiana', pp. 244-5.

Price (AUD): $3,200.00  other currencies     Ref: #3005404

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