12mo [132 x 73 mm] of (4) ll. including 1 engraved frontispiece and 472 pp. Full limp vellum, flat spine. Contemporary binding.
First edition printed abroad, revised and corrected, of this treatise by Charles Sorel, reprinted in 1974 and then in 1981. Barbier, Anonymes, I, 692; Brunet, V, 458; Willems 1866.
The first edition was published the previous year in Paris, also in a 12mo volume.
“This treatise ‘De la Connoissance des bons livres’ (About the Knowledge of good books), Paris, 1671, or Amsterdam, 1672, 12mo, counts some particularities making it still sought-after.” (Brunet).
“Charles Sorel’s bibliographical knowledge allowed him to write two very useful works for those interested in the XVIIth century literature: ‘La Bibliothèque française’ in 1664, then ‘De la connaissance des bons livres’ in 1671. He draws up an overview of the French literature and delivers his own analysis.” “Neither his century nor even posterity have given this French novelist, critic, scholar and historian his true position. For many reasons, the main one being that Sorel never signed his works.” (Jacques Brosse).
The volume contains four parts: De la connoissance des bons livres de nostre langue – De l’histoire & des romans – De la poësie Françoise, & des comédies – De la manière de bien parler, & de bien écrire en nostre langue. Du bon stile, & de l’éloquence; et du nouveau langage Français.
“His last work, ‘De la connaissance des bons livres’ (1672), constitutes in a way Sorel’s ‘poetic art’ of: an very interesting work as, by establishing the superiority of historical narration over poetical fiction, Sorel sets against the entire critical tradition, of an Aristotelian inspiration, that dominated Europe for a century, and that gave the principles of classic aesthetics. […] we can find there many interesting and original parts, and his marginal thoughts are of a great importance for who wants to know the intellectual life of the first part of the century.” Jacques Brosse.
Besides, a recent thesis about Molière published by the Sorbonne links 5 works for “The enhancement of nature and the defense of ‘still life’ paintings in literature”:
The Clélie (1656-1660) by Scudéry,The Nouvelles Nouvelles by Donneau de Visé, which precisely credits the Clélie’s success for knowing how to “talk about things of the time”, A discourse of Guez de Balzac, Du caractère et de l’instruction de la comédie,The preface of the Roman comique (1666) by Furetière, The treatise De la connaissance des bons livres (1671) by Sorel.
An attractive copy preserved in its original contemporary limp vellum binding.
Provenance: handwritten ex-libris on the title dating from 1771.