Nouveau Voyage de la Terre Australe, contenant Les Coûtumes & les Moeurs des Australiens…. Gabriel de FOIGNY.
Nouveau Voyage de la Terre Australe, contenant Les Coûtumes & les Moeurs des Australiens…

Nouveau Voyage de la Terre Australe…
Nouveau Voyage de la Terre Australe, contenant Les Coûtumes & les Moeurs des Australiens…

Paris: Claude Barbin, 1693.

Duodecimo, 177 pp., in crushed brown morocco by Sangorski.

Lost among the "Australiens"

Scarce seventeenth-century Paris edition of one of the most significant of all imaginary voyages, with clear links to the wider literature of travel and a connection with Quiros.

Scarce seventeenth-century Paris edition of one of the most significant of all imaginary voyages, with clear links to the wider literature of travel and a connection with Quiros.

The "south land" is used as the setting for this remarkable work of fiction, 'perhaps the most famous of all the fictitious accounts of Terra Australis' (Mackaness) and 'a major utopia, rich in satire and iconoclasm' (Gibson). Of particular note is the fact that Foigny's book refers to the inhabitants of his Terre Australe as "Australiens" - the first work to use the term to describe an inhabitant of the southern continent.

Foigny (circa 1630-1692) had a turbulent life. A promising career as a Franciscan monk was scotched by his 'licentious behaviour' and he was forced to flee to Geneva and Protestantism. Scandal continued to dog him while he was in Switzerland, and he was forced to leave in 1684 leaving behind a large family and a pregnant maid. Foigny rejoined the Catholic faith, and died in a convent eight years later.

In this marvellous novel the hero Sadeur is twice kidnapped and four times shipwrecked, ultimately being plucked from the sea by a gigantic winged monster which drops him on the shores of Western Australia. Most of the novel is set in western Australia and openly borrows from Dutch voyages in the region, but the hermaphrodite society Sadeur discovers is entirely Foigny's invention; in this Australian world marked by a rational rejection of the body, Sadeur's curiosity and levity about the topic is considered very de trop, yet worse his 'propensity to unseemly arousal' (Rees).

Friederich, pp. 16ff.; Gibson, 'St. Thomas More… with a Bibliography of Utopiana', 682; Rees, Utopian Imagination, pp. 55-6 & 155.

Condition Report: Title-page just shaved at fore-edge, edges untrimmed; an attractive copy

Price (AUD): $5,250.00

US$3,867.91   Other currencies

Ref: #4106021

Condition Report