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2020-06-20 17:55:20
D'Arthenay, Guilluame-Marie, attributed to
Mémoire historique et critique sur la ville souterraine découverte au pied du Mont-Vésuve
Avignon: Alexandre Giroud, 1748. Small quarto, 11x17 cm; [4], 74 pages. Removed from bound volume, title page was folded under before trimming; otherwise clean and fresh.This is the first separately published account of the discoveries at Herculaneum. This anonymous description of the initial excavations at Herculaneum has been a bibliographic puzzle almost since its publication. Recent scholarship generally attributes it to Guillaume-Marie D'Arthenay, for nineteen years secretary to the French ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples. The first extensive excavations at Herculaneum began under the patronage of the Bourbon king of Naples, Charles VII, in 1738. He tried to keep the excavations and finds as secret as possible. The few approved visitors were even denied the use of pencil and paper to sketch what they saw. There was considerable conspiracy to bring the discoveries to light, and according to Alden Gordon, the leading scholar on the eighteenth century excavations, "D'Arthenay was at the heart of the foreign conspiracy to steal the secrets of Herculaneum." In a further twist, the edition offered here is ostensibly a pirate edition, published anonymously in Avignon several months before the Paris edition that had D'Arthenay's approval. Prior to this, the only published accounts of the excavations were brief notices or travelers' letters reprinted in "news of the day" type journals or scientific proceedings.OCLC and KvK locate fourteen copies: seven in France, including four at BnF; two in Naples; and one each in Germany, Switzerland, Spain, UK (ULondon), and the US … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Archway Books [United States]
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