Civan, Roi de Bungo, Histoire Japonnaise, ou Tableau de l'Education d'un Prince. Madame Marie-Jeanne Leprince de BEAUMONT.
Civan, Roi de Bungo, Histoire Japonnaise, ou Tableau de l'Education d'un Prince.

Civan, Roi de Bungo, Histoire Japonnaise…
Civan, Roi de Bungo, Histoire Japonnaise, ou Tableau de l'Education d'un Prince.

Londres: Jean Nourse, 1758.

Two volumes, small octavo; a neat set in contemporary calf, flat spines gilt in compartments.

A Japanese utopia by a French woman writer living in London

A rare utopia set in Japan, depicting a land of serenity and good government in the fictional but well-contrived kingdom of "Bungo": the novel is considered an early example of the use of exotic Eastern settings in European literature.

A rare utopia set in Japan, depicting a land of serenity and good government in the fictional but well-contrived kingdom of "Bungo": the novel is considered an early example of the use of exotic Eastern settings in European literature.

The work was ostensibly published as a roman d'éducation for the teenaged Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, scion of the House of Hapsburg-Lorraine and Marie-Antoinette's brother. Marie-Jeanne Leprince de Beaumont (1711-1780) was a prolific writer known for her religious and moral books, who lived and worked for several years in London from 1748 (meaning that the Nourse imprint here is likely genuine). During her English sojourn she gained some fame for adapting Barbot de Villeneuve's version of Beauty and the Beast (see catalogue no. XXXX) and being a regular contributor to several English magazines and journals. From faraway London she dedicated Civan to Prince Joseph as a guide to his interactions with foreigners (one wonders whether he took it much to heart, given both his famous embrace of the Enlightenment but also the way in which his policies ultimately led to the increased isolation of his Austrian kingdom).

This is the second edition, following a 1754 version by the same publisher: both are uncommon.

Barbier, I, p. 611.

Condition Report: Slight rubbing.

Price (AUD): $1,600.00

US$1,163.50   Other currencies

Ref: #3006524

Condition Report