Our latest themed list spans four centuries of imaginary voyages: whimsical, pedagogical, philosophical, fantastical, satirical: all explorations of Utopia or the world as it will or ought to be. Many offer prescient insight and many are absurd or comedic. Works by Vairasse, the rare "Histoire der Sevarambes" (an imaginary voyage to western Australia), and Foigny's "Les Avantures de Jacques Sadeur dans la découverte ...de la Terre Australe" are present, the earliest by the Dominican Tommasso Campanella prophesying (as a few in this list do) a coming Theocracy. Works by two of the great scholars of humanist thought: Thomas More's "Utopia" and Erasmus' "Praise of Folly" appear together in a very attractive French edition.
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Lisbon: Vicente Jorge de Castro; Sociedade Propagadora dos Conhecimentos Uteis, 1841.
The pernicious contagion of immoralityThree volumes bound in one, small octavo; in contemporary marbled sheep preserved in folding cloth case. A rare Portuguese imaginary voyage to Australia, not recorded by most of the commentators on the genre. In...
Paris: E. Ducrocq, 1850.
French RobinsonadeOctavo, with eight chromolithographs (including frontispiece); in the original black grained cloth, spine ornately gilt, all edges gilt. A good example of one of the later Robinsonades. First published around the same time as the now more famous Swiss Family Robinson tales by Wyss...
Londres: Jean Nourse, 1758.
Educational use of an imaginary voyage settingTwo volumes, small octavo; a neat set in contemporary calf, flat spines gilt in compartments. Second edition, following a 1754 version by the same publisher. Both works are of some rarity, NUC listing a single copy of the first...
Paris: chez Froulle, 1793.
A liberal society on the moonOctavo, good uncut copy; in later quarter red morocco with marbled boards. First of two editions published in 1793. It is of notable rarity, with only five copies of both editions listed in NUC.This work describes the wonderfully liberal state...
Paris: l'Auteur, 1791.
Lunar living is rather like FranceOctavo; original condition, stitched in plain blue-grey wrappers. First edition: lunar life proves very similar to life in provincial France, but the music is better. Beffroy de Reigny (1757-1811) was a highly successful journalist and dramatist. His most important works were...
Amsterdam: n.p., 1753.
First illustrated edition of an interesting utopiaFour volumes in two, octavo; with all four titles and half-titles, each volume with an engraved plate as well as an engraved headpiece vignette at start of text; contemporary French mottled calf, an attractive set. The second French edition, with...
Gand: J. N. Houdin, 1821.
Early utopian socialismOctavo, uncut, in wrappers. First French edition: history of the formation of an early socialist society in Europe. This is a French translation from the Dutch of a text by the reformer van den Bosch, who, along with his Societé de Bienfaisance...
Paris: Hippolyte Souverain, 1840. Two volumes in one, octavo, with both half-titles, red quarter morocco with decorated boards, gilt title and bands on spine. A handsome copy of the very rare first edition of this key work, an imaginary voyage to a radical socialist utopia, and the 'most popular nineteenth...
Nangazaki [Paris]: "Klnporzenkru, L'an du monde 59749" 1749. Two volumes in one, duodecimo, first title lightly stained and with an early ms attribution to 'Cahusac'; in old dark blue paper boards, red leather label. "Last edition" of this charming and rare book which had been suppressed by the authorities in...
Amsterdam: Louis Elzevir, 1653.
Build a wall "lest the English should break in and bring heresy."24mo., engraved title, all edges gilt; in nineteenth-century full red morocco, gilt arms of Henry J.B. Clements on front cover, spine banded and gilt. Attractive small Elzevir edition of this utopian work by the...
Paris: Henri Plon, 1871. Duodecimo, quarter red-brown morocco. Early French edition of Chesney's electrifying tale of the German invasion of England. Its depiction of the humiliation of the English in battle, but also the crushing despair of life under German rule, positions this work as one of the most important...
Paris: Libraires du Palais-Royal, 1860. Duodecimo, uncut; original blue paper wrappers, manuscript inscription on front cover. First edition: a proposal for a 'new utopia' founded on pacifist principles. In 1859, a Franco-Italian alliance had sought to repel Austrian aggression in northern Italy, but the French people had been sickened by...
Brattleboro: by the Author, 1849. Octavo, a fine copy in blind-stamped publisher's cloth, gilt title on spine. First edition: a lurid denunciation of John Humphrey Noyes's famous American utopian community at Putney. Noyes was the charismatic founder of the 'Perfectionist' community in Putney Vermont. Already suspect to Church authorities, Noyes's...
Paris: Claude Barbin, 1692. Octavo, in contemporary mottled calf, spine panelled in gilt; fine armorial bookplate on front pastedown. A revised edition, prepared by François Raguenet, possibly from a manuscript by Foigny himself. The dangerously heretical nature of the first edition has been tempered here by concentrating on the fabulous.....
Amsterdam: David Mortier, 1732.
French editionSmall octavo; contemporary French mottled calf, spine panelled in gilt between raised bands, red morocco label; with the bookplate of Bernard Gore Brett. Attractive early edition of Foigny's imaginary voyage to Australia. This is the fourth French edition, based on the Paris edition of...
London: Albion Press, 1808. Duodecimo, with a portrait; original printed grey boards. An unusual printing of the famous semi-utopian text, Fontenelle's influential account of other worlds. The text is of some feminist interest: it is a woman who asks questions of the scientist in the Conversations, and its tacit acceptance...
Paris: Jean-Francois Bastien, 1790.
A fantastic galactic utopiaEight volumes, octavo, engraved portrait frontispiece in volume 1 and a folding plate in vol. 2; a fine set in contemporary French polished marbled calf; flat spines ornately gilt with double red labels. A very attractive set of Fontenelle's works, including his...
London: Richard Bentley, 1837.
Imaginary travels in the Australian inlandSmall octavo; half-title discarded, no publisher's advertisements which appear in some copies; in full green morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Rare Australian utopia and imaginary voyage: first edition of this fantastical tale chronicling an 1835 expedition from Bathurst to the...
The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1952. Quarto, unopened, in blue boards; blind embossed printer's device on front board. First edition: an elegant monograph on utopia. This thesis on the development of economics in the English Utopia gives priority to key works such as Bacon's New Atlantis, but also includes chapters on...
West Brookfield: O.S. Cooke & Co., 1849. Octavo, in original printed wrappers. Rare first edition of a radical American utopian tract. Greene (1818-1878) was a prominent American theorist and Unitarian minister, who published prolifically on the question of government and banking, as well as producing more esoteric works on the...
Paris: chez Breaute, 1861. 12mo., uncut, in the original pink printed wrappers. First edition and very scarce: through natural aptitude and indefatigable perseverance Mlle. Hertha discovers the truths of the universe. This work is an abstract from Hertha's longer text Égalité-Liberté, and is presented to her public in the hope.....
London: T. Cadell & W. Davies, 1797. Octavo, uncut, single leaf errata; in period style half red morocco. Influential study of the tales of Sindbad and their relation to the imaginary voyage. The poet and antiquary Hole (1746-1803) was a founding member of the Exeter Literary Society, to which he...
Babylone (Paris): n.p., 1760. Octavo, with four engraved plates by Cochin after Desfriches illustrating the second work "Mon Odyssée ou le Journal de Mon Retour de Saintonge"; contemporary mottled calf,spine gilt with red label. First edition: a marvellous utopian community in Africa, prefiguring the uses of photography, television and the.....
"Pressure" (Paris?): Dans les Jardins de M. l'Ebahi, 1788.
A visit to JapanOctavo, half-title, woodcut vignette of a ship setting sail at start of text; neat modern quarter calf. First edition: a very scarce anonymous imaginary voyage and a satirical commentary on French politics and society which has decadent...