Les Avantures de Jacques Sadeur dans la découverte et le voyage de la Terre Australe…. Gabriel de FOIGNY.
Les Avantures de Jacques Sadeur dans la découverte et le voyage de la Terre Australe…

Les Avantures de Jacques Sadeur…
Les Avantures de Jacques Sadeur dans la découverte et le voyage de la Terre Australe…

Amsterdam: David Mortier, 1732.

Small octavo; contemporary French mottled calf, spine panelled in gilt between raised bands, red morocco label.

First use of the word "Australien" to describe an inhabitant of the southern continent

Uncommon fourth French edition, based on the Raguenet edition of 1692, the version thought to have been influenced by a now unknown manuscript version by Foigny himself.

Uncommon fourth French edition, based on the Raguenet edition of 1692, the version thought to have been influenced by a now unknown manuscript version by Foigny himself.

The most remarkable aspect of this 1732 edition is that it was published by David Mortier, best known as one of the partners of the great Dutch mapmaking firm Covens and Mortier (the title-page calls him a bookseller at the sign of the "Mappe-Monde"), an association which must explain the renewed interest in Foigny's book while also showing the continued confusion about where the truth really lay.

Foigny, a defrocked Franciscan monk, wrote this work while sheltering in Geneva in the 1670s. The inventiveness of the story, into which Foigny has packed any number of incredible creations, has baffled and delighted generations of critics: it tells the story of Jacques Sadeur, an hermaphroditic sailor whose latest shipwreck (his fourth) had nearly proved fatal, only for him to be saved by a winged monster which plucked him from the Indian Ocean and dropped him conveniently ashore in 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, which is set in a land of harmony and reason, but one which is simultaneously involved in a vicious war against their inland neighbours. The ensuing tale is told with tremendous verve and is a subtle reflection on the very concept of utopia. Or, as Friederich puts it, 'bored by decades of sexless bliss, rational discussions and indoctrinations, athletic exercises and peaceful gardening,' the protagonist makes a run for it.

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. 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').

Provenance: Bernard Gore Brett (Melbourne collector, with bookplate).

Gibson, 'St. Thomas More… with a Bibliography of Utopiana', 692.

Condition Report: A few bumps, hinges starting but still firm, an attractive copy,

Price (AUD): $1,200.00

US$877.41   Other currencies

Ref: #3601256

Condition Report