Giphantie. Charles François TIPHAIGNE de la ROCHE, IMAGINARY VOYAGES, UTOPIAS.
Giphantie.

Giphantie.

Babylone (Paris): n.p., 1760.

Octavo, with four engraved plates by Cochin after Desfriches illustrating the second work "Mon Odyssée ou le Journal de Mon Retour de Saintonge"; contemporary mottled calf,spine gilt with red label.

First edition: a marvellous utopian community in Africa, prefiguring the uses of photography, television and the telephone.

First edition: a marvellous utopian community in Africa, prefiguring the uses of photography, television and the telephone.
Tiphaigne de la Roche (1729-1774) a physician and polymath, wrote a series of works invested with the Enlightenment spirit of philosophical enthusiasm. In Giphantie (an anagram of the author's name) the protagonist is lifted semi-conscious and transported by air to an edenic garden, where a charming spirit guide shows him around their 'vaguely utopian society' (Lewis).
Interestingly, the continuing importance of the book is largely due to the succession of technical devices which are taken for granted on the island, including prototype televisions and telephones. The work is particularly remembered for one intriguing passage which has been taken as an important foundation moment in the proto-history of photography. Thus, the English edition of 1761: 'You know that the rays of light, reflected from different bodies, form a picture, and paint the image reflected on all polished surfaces, for instance, on the retina of the eye, on water, and on glass. The elementary spirits have sought to fix these fleeting images…'.
This work is bound together with Pierre Honoré Robbe de Beauveset's rococo poem in four verses Mon Odyssée ou le Journal de Mon Retour de Saintonge (La Haye, 1760), illustrated with four engraved plates. De Beauveset was an influential French writer known for his gentle satires and erotic works.

Barbier, II, p. 544 (Tiphaigne de la Roche: lists publishing details as 'La Haye (Paris)') & III, p. 331 (Robbe de Beauveset); Lewis, p. 188 (microform only); Negley, 1101.

Price (AUD): $7,250.00  other currencies     Ref: #3006485