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Cyrano De Bergerac, Savinien

The Comical History of the States and Empires of the Worlds of the Moon and Sun. Written in French By Cyrano Bergerac. and Newly Englished By a. Lovell, a.M.

      London: Printed for Henry Rhodes, next door to the Swan-Tavern, near, 1687. Octavo, two parts in one volume [as issued]: pp. [1-8] 1-140 [141-142: blank] [1-2] 1-206 [207: errata] [208: blank], engraved frontispiece by F. H. van Hove, modern paneled calf, all panels tooled in blind, red leather title label affixed to spine panel. First combined edition in English of Cyrano's HISTOIRE COMIQUE DES ETATS AT EMPIRES DE LA LUNE (1657) and HISTOIRE COMIQUE DES ETATS AT EMPIRES DU SOLEIL (1662). The first edition in English of HISTOIRE COMIQUE DES ETATS AT EMPIRES DU SOLEIL (1662), and the first combined edition in English of the two parts (the two known together as L'AUTRE MONDE), both translated by Archibald Lovell. The moon voyage was written before 1650, probably in 1648 or 1649, and was circulated in manuscript prior to publication in 1657, two years after Cyrano's death. The published version was censored (to tone down the heretical elements) by Cyrano's friend Henri le Bret. Neither of the two seventeenth-century English-language translations (the other was a translation of the moon voyage by Thomas St. Serf published in 1659) represent Cyrano. "In the early twentieth century two manuscripts of the lunar voyage surfaced, offering Cyrano's own text, which is far superior to Le Bret's. These manuscripts, which differ only in occasional details, have served as the basis for the Aldington and Strachan translations." (Bleiler) The manuscript of the voyage to the sun is lost, and the only extant version is the possibly corrupt text first published in LE NOUVELLES OEUVRES DE MONSIEUR DE CYRANO BERGERAC (Paris: Charles de Sercy, 1662). Cyrano's HISTOIRE COMIQUE is one of the earliest classics of science fiction and was historically important in the development of the lunar voyage. "...the most brilliant of all seventeenth-century parodies of the cosmic voyage."-Nicolson, Voyages to the Moon, p. 159. "Cyrano's ingenious mixture of science and romance has furnished a model for many subsequent writers, among them Swift and E. A. Poe."-Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th edition) 7: 702. "...the first writer to describe an interplanetary journey by means of rockets...He is a very sharp satirist and his tale abounds with amusing attacks on religion, contemporary scientific theory, philosophy, customs and mores...Throughout the development many small points are based on Cyrano's interpretation or extrapolation of the day. The book is thus science-fiction of its period. A remarkable book that deserves wider readership than it has received."-Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years 542. Aldiss and Wingrove, Trillion Year Spree, pp. 73-5. Anatomy of Wonder (1976) 1-12; (1981) 1-52; (1987) 1-12; and (1995) 1-12. Clute and Nicholls (eds), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, p. 291. Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy Volume II, p. 37. Versins, Encyclopedie de l'Utopie, des Voyages Extraordinaires, et de la Science Fiction, pp. 217-19. Bleiler (1978), p, 55. Wing C7717. Fore-edge margin of frontispiece very slightly trimmed, mild old damp stain to top edge margins of about half the leaves of part one (extends faintly into text on a few leaves), several tiny ink stains and fox marks, but overall the text is remarkably clean. There are a few corrections of errors and misprints in the text in a contemporary hand, probably that of Sir Thomas Pope Blount (1649-1697), English author and essayist, whose signature appears on the recto of the frontispiece, along with signatures of two other seventeenth-century owners, both dated 1692, one of whom has also signed the title page. Blount's most widely admired original work was ESSAYS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS (1692); his most notable work, CENSURA CELEBRORUM AUTHORUM (1690), was a collection of things famous authors had said about each other. A very nice copy with an interesting provenance. (#136738)

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Last Found On: 2012-02-15          Check current availability from:     Alibris


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