Les Egaremens du coeur et de l'esprit, ou Memoires de Mr de Meilcour

CREBILLON Prosper Jolyot de (1738])


3 volumes. 12mo (168 x 104mm). [18], 174pp, [3]ff; [2], 144pp, [1]f; [4], 176pp. Contemporary speckled calf with gilt fillet, arms in gilt on upper and lower covers, spine gilt in compartments (headcaps chipped, joints split but holding, general wear to extremities). 


[Vol. I Prault fils, Paris, 1736; Vols II & III Gosse & Neaulme, A la Haye, 

Uncommon first editions of the three volumes of Cre´billon fils’ ‘The Wayward Head and Heart’, the story of Parisian social life and the sentimental and worldly education of the eponymous Meilcour. It ’is a text which readers, scholars, and historians have continued to revisit, if not for the early modern circumvoluted beauty of the sentences, then for clues about the tacit system of rules associated with the liaisons of Parisian aristocrats during the Regency and early years of Louis XV’s reign’ (Ganofsky). The Earl of Shaftesbury was among those who read it and used it as a guide, as well as, it seems, the colourful Spanish Queen Elisabeth Farnese (1692-1766) - called a ‘termagant’ by her biographer - whose arms appear in gilt on each volume here. She also owned Crebillon fils’ most celebrated work Le Sopha (her copy with gilt arms sold at Dominic Winter in 2007).

Prault’s first volume of 1736 is also found paired with later editions of the second and third volumes, also by Gosse & Neaulme from 1741 and 1745. There appears to have been a pirated version of the first with date 1736, printed at Amsterdam.

Provenance: Gilt arms of Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain (1692- 1766) by marriage to Philip V. Ownership inscription of J.M. Waugh in all three volumes, with a note on the front free endpaper of the rst in the same hand. Bookplate of William Charles Flack.

Marine Ganofsky, The Literary Encyclopaedia (2017). Tchemerzine IV, 190 (Prault fils 2 vols only). Guigard I, 126.

[OCLC: North America: McGill, University of Nebraska, UC San Diego. UK: BL, NLS, Oxford, Manchester].

Stock Code: 231526

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