Il selvaggio di Taiti ai Francesi con una lettera diretta al filosofo amico dei selvaggi. TAHITI, Nicolas BRICAIRE DE LA DIXMERIE.

Il selvaggio di Taiti ai Francesi…
Il selvaggio di Taiti ai Francesi con una lettera diretta al filosofo amico dei selvaggi.

"A Londra" 1770.

Octavo, xvi, 104 pp.; a fine uncut copy in original soft boards, owner's inscription 'Girolamo Gherardini' on title.

One of the earliest books on Tahiti, and an attack on Rousseau to boot

Extremely rare Italian translation of Bricaire de la Dixmerie's fictional letter, purporting to be written by the Tahitian Ahutoru to his friends in France. Ahutoru had sailed to France in 1769 with Bougainville where he became a sensation, in much the same way that Omai would become a lion of British society a few years later: not only was Bricaire de la Dixmerie's book the first full publication on Tahiti ever published, but its subject (and supposed author) Ahutoru was still living in Paris as it came off the presses.

Extremely rare Italian translation of Bricaire de la Dixmerie's fictional letter, purporting to be written by the Tahitian Ahutoru to his friends in France. Ahutoru had sailed to France in 1769 with Bougainville where he became a sensation, in much the same way that Omai would become a lion of British society a few years later: not only was Bricaire de la Dixmerie's book the first full publication on Tahiti ever published, but its subject (and supposed author) Ahutoru was still living in Paris as it came off the presses.

Bricaire de la Dixmerie (1731-1791) published on everything from his friend Voltaire to life in Spain, but took a particular interest in fantastic travel. Well-connected and well-regarded, he was also a member of the famous Les Neufs Sœurs, the Masonic Lodge where he would have met everyone from Benjamin Franklin to John Paul Jones. His description of Tahiti is known to have been based on the Lettre de M. Commerson, an almost hallucinogenic account of the South Seas written by Bougainville's botanist Philibert Commerson, which had been published in the journal La Mercure in February 1769, more than two years before the official account finally appeared. However, the most important aspect of the present work was that Bricaire de la Dixmerie was one of the real Ahutoru's friends in Paris, so there is a core of realism no matter the elaborate fiction of the letter format, and it is hard not to wonder whether any of the numerous asides are based on personal observation.

The original French edition is known to be very rare, this translation of the same year even more so. Rolf Du Rietz in the Kroepelien catalogue noted he had been able to locate only two copies of the work and no reference to it in any other bibliography or catalogue.

Kroepelien, 127; not in NUC; not in O'Reilly & Reitman. On Bricaire de la Dixmerie see the 'Dictionnaire des journalistes, 1600-1789 (online).

Condition Report: Rather worn and stained but nonetheless attractive.

Price (AUD): $2,250.00

US$1,631.24   Other currencies

Ref: #4011320

Condition Report