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2021-01-13 16:12:49
Voyages et avantures de Jaques Masse.
Bourdeaux [i.e. The Hague]: Jaques L'Aveugle, 1710 [i.e. around 1714]. Bourdeaux [i.e. The Hague]: Jaques L'Aveugle,, 1710 [i.e. around 1714]. The true first edition Duodecimo (158 x 92 mm). Contemporary speckled calf, red morocco label. Ownership label, neat ink note of author, and early catalogue description to front pastedown. Small chip at base of spine, front joint cracked but firm, some light browning, front free endpaper and frontispiece expertly reinserted. A very good copy. First edition of this early utopian novel, "the best-known of all the radical philosophical novels of the Early Enlightenment" and which "surpassed practically every other work of philosophical fiction of the age for notoriety" (Israel, pp. liii and lvi). The novel details a Frenchman shipwrecked off South Africa - the co-ordinates are given as 60°E/44°S, roughly around the Kerguelen Islands - where he finds a terrestrial paradise. Learning the language of the natives, the protagonist seeks to explain Christianity to them, who greet its central tenets as absurd, and its God as unjust. The hero continues his travels, and there hears a parable on Christianity that shocked the author's contemporaries - an absolute monarch, who owns bees, damns them for sucking nectar which had been prohibited merely to test his authority, send his son in bee form to redeem them, whereupon the different worshippers of the bee messiah kill each other, whilst bee priests live indolent lives on pious bees' labour. Rapidly banned in Holland and France, it nonetheless went through further Dutch editions, a French editi … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Peter Harrington [United Kingdom]
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