Giphantie.vincendon. Charles François TIPHAIGNE de la ROCHE.
Giphantie.vincendon

Giphantie.
Giphantie.vincendon

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.

Science fiction and early photography from "Babylon"

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) was a physician, polymath and much-published writer. In Giphantie (an anagram of the author's name) the protagonist is lifted semi-conscious and transported by air to a beautiful garden, where a charming spirit guide shows him around a 'vaguely utopian society' (Lewis). The book is a good example of the imaginary voyage genre, using a quite plausible African setting, but is more renowned for the fantastical series of technical advances that are discussed in striking detail, including everything from prototype televisions to telephones. The discussion of the way in which the ruling spirits of the land have learnt to 'fix' the fleeting images formed by light is so detailed that the novel is considered a milestone in the pre-history of photography.

This copy 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 satires and erotic works.

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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…'.

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

US$5,255.97   Other currencies

Ref: #3006485