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Relation du Pays de Jansenie , ou il est traitté des singularitez qui s'y trouvent, des Coûtumes, Mœurs & Religion de ses Habitans
Paris: Thierry and Barbin, 1660. Octavo, with a fine large engraved folding bird's-eye-view map; contemporary vellum, endpapers wearing, ms title on spine. First edition: a witty allegorical satire in the form of an imaginary voyage to a Jansenist society, by the Capuchin theologian Zacharie de Lisieux (1591 or 1596-1661). Around 1640 Jansen had controversially attempted to reassert the Augustinian doctrine of original sin and thus the necessity for grace: the Jansenist movement quickly became associated with moral rigour. It was supported by Pascal in his Lettres Provinciales, compelling Innocent X to issue the 1653 bull 'With Occasion' denouncing the movement. Published only seven years later, the Relation du Pays de Jansenie uses some very broad satire to support Pope Innocent's proclamation, denouncing the writings and influence of Jansen as synonymous with libertinage, despair and Calvinism. Thus, the people 'have very hard heads and thick skulls. Some have two hearts, a condition occasionally advanced as an explanation for their notorious insincerity' and their philosophers 'do not recognize the existence of common sense' (Manguel & Guadalupi). Detested by their neighbours, they show a predilection for secrecy, espionage, insincerity and superficiality. It is prefaced by some of the classic devices of the imaginary voyage, including a wonderfully insincere apology for the lack of detail, for which he can hardly be held responsible: he was in a great hurry and, after all, the public really only like short books. Moreover, Zacharie de Lisieux gives crucial importance to the map he reproduces which, he humbly avers, will have more impact than the Almanac, because what it lacks in detail it more than makes up for with panache.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-07-29           Check availability:      Biblio    

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