Recueil de différentes choses… Relation du royaume des Feliciens, Peuples qui habitent dans les Terres Australes…. Armand-Léon de Madaillan de Lesparre LASSAY, Marquis de.

Recueil de différentes choses… Relation du royaume des Feliciens…
Recueil de différentes choses… Relation du royaume des Feliciens, Peuples qui habitent dans les Terres Australes…

A Lausanne: chez Marc-Mic. Bousquet, 1756.

Four volumes, quarto; contemporary speckled calf, gilt backs with raised bands, contrasting spine labels with gilt lettering, with gilt stamped coat-of-arms arms at foot of spine encircled by the text 'Monstrant regibus astra viam'.

De la Rochefoucauld's copy of a de luxe issue, with an imaginary voyage to les Terres Australes

Rare large and thick paper copy, from the library of the Duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt: though a duodecimo in printing terms, the size of this set has jumped to a quarto, and a thick one at that. The "Don Juan of the Grand Siècle", Armand de Madaillan Lesparre (1652-1738) was a soldier on the battlefield, a gossip in the salons, and a man of letters. He served as aide-de-camp to the Grand Condé. His work is a collection of facts and fancies, memoirs, historical and genealogical records, gallant notes, thoughts, portraits, tales, anecdotes of his time... and concludes with Lassay's imaginary voyage to a southern land, Relation du Royaume des Feliciens, Peuples qui habitent dans les Terres Australes, a utopia which takes advantage of the contemporary vogue for the southern continent as the site of a perfected European society. ---

Rare large and thick paper copy, from the library of the Duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt: though a duodecimo in printing terms, the size of this set has jumped to a quarto, and a thick one at that. The "Don Juan of the Grand Siècle", Armand de Madaillan Lesparre (1652-1738) was a soldier on the battlefield, a gossip in the salons, and a man of letters. He served as aide-de-camp to the Grand Condé. His work is a collection of facts and fancies, memoirs, historical and genealogical records, gallant notes, thoughts, portraits, tales, anecdotes of his time... and concludes with Lassay's imaginary voyage to a southern land, Relation du Royaume des Feliciens, Peuples qui habitent dans les Terres Australes, a utopia which takes advantage of the contemporary vogue for the southern continent as the site of a perfected European society. ---

Like most works in the imaginary voyage tradition, the provenance of the story is made as complicated as possible: it purports to be a translation of a manuscript found in the jetsam of a vessel which wrecked off the Guinea coast in 1714, was salvaged, and finally sent to a Dutch addressee whom the VOC encourage to set himself up in Batavia. Sailing on the Texel, they round the Cape of Good Hope, and travel for seventeen days in uncharted waters until between 40º and 50º latitude they discover an unknown land, guarded by a fortress wall and inhabited by a people who speak Latin. Their wonderfully ordered city is comparable to the splendour of Paris, but also displays a perfected government similar to the English model. Lassay provides a lavish account of the kingdom, detailing everything from their seemingly inexhaustible natural riches to their magnificent urban design, the accoutrements of a people 'plus spirituels.' Lassay also includes a brief account of the nation's founding which, like Killigrew's 1720 Description of New Athens, involves a seamless blending of classical exiles with the local population.

This is the best edition (a 1726 two-volume publication of Lassay's works was a rather unmethodical collation of his papers, and only distributed privately, and anyway this is 'plus complète et plus méthodique' -- Querard). Lassay was a pillar of the salons and so it is no surprise that this book in its rather sumptuous format would have appealed to the Marquis des Roys and the Duc de la Rochefoucauld. The only other copy that we have traced as having been sold in the last twenty years was that owned by the Comtesse du Barry, though that was in regular format.

Provenance: Marquis des Roys (armorial device on spines, bookplates with motto 'Monstrant regibus astra viam'); Duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt (bookplate as Duc de Liancourt in each volume); L. Dussieux (booktickets).

Hartig & Souboul, p.42; Trousson, pp. 132-3; Versins, p. 513; Wijngaarden, pp. 136 ff.

Price (AUD): $15,000.00  other currencies Ref: #4504974