Les Voyages de Kang-Hi, ou nouvelles Lettres Chinoises. Gaston Pierre Marc LÉVIS, duc de.
Les Voyages de Kang-Hi, ou nouvelles Lettres Chinoises.

Les Voyages de Kang-Hi, ou nouvelles Lettres Chinoises.

Paris: P. Didot, 1810.

Duodecimo, two volumes in one, two folding tables; a good copy, some damage to spine, in later quarter calf.

The world of the future by a Chinese traveller in France

First edition, uncommon: an early work by the Duc de Lévis, a key figure in the Revolutionary government who was exiled to England in 1792, but who returned to favour under Napoleon.

First edition, uncommon: an early work by the Duc de Lévis, a key figure in the Revolutionary government who was exiled to England in 1792, but who returned to favour under Napoleon.

The novel is a curious mix of genres, in effect a combination of the tale of the future popularised by Mercier's world of L'an 2440 ('The Year 2440') and the exotic visitor to France genre initiated by Montesquieu's Lettres persanes ('Persian Letters'): here, a Chinese traveller of the year 1910 writes home on European manners, providing a realistic portrayal of a future Paris but also satirising the ambitions of utopians. The book includes two quite remarkable folding tables, the first an experiment in annotating speech in real time (not unlike musical notation) and the second mocking up a newspaper from the future. The author de Lévis went on to have a long career as a writer and aphorist, not least after the publication of his Maximes, that quintessentially French genre.

Perhaps best known today for his remark 'Noblesse oblige', he wrote extensively, particularly on questions of economics.

Lust, Western Books on China, 1280.

Price (AUD): $2,400.00

US$1,679.97   Other currencies

Ref: #5000470