A La Haye et se trouve à Lausanne, chez Franç. Grasset, 1776.
2 parts bound in 1 volume 12mo [166 x 117 mm] of: I/ (1) l., viii pp., 155 pp., (3) pp., (1) bl.l.; II/ (2) ll., 181 pp., (3) pp. Preserved in its provisional blank cased binding, flat spine with the handwritten title in ink, untrimmed. Contemporary binding.
Rare counterfeit of one of Restif de la Bretonne’s first works. Rives Childs, V, 8, p. 209.
“The young Nicolas Anne Edme Rétif (1734-1806) is sent in 1751 to Auxerre to apprentice to a printer, where he seduces his employer’s beautiful wife that he was to mention later as Ms Parangon. He became a typographer in 1755 and then decides to go to Paris where he doesn’t take long to enter the Imprimerie royale. He has just come of age. As a slave of his temper, he initiates, without further ado, the life of a Don Juan which will always be his. Towards 1760, and hoping to put an end to his escapades, his family judges wise to marry him to a girl from Auxerre named Agnès Lebègue. After giving her four girls, he separates from her. He spends more and more his night philandering, in order to observe vice and, of course, to practice it himself in order to set his mind at rest. In 1767, he finally starts in literature by publishing ‘La Famille vertueuse’ (The Virtuous family), a novel in four volumes. Embolden by his large success, he decides to live solely on his writing. He feels much better armed for this fight since, knowing the letterpress, he will be able to print himself his works, and, thanks to that, will be able to ignore the printers’ requirements. In 1769, he writes ‘La Fille naturelle’ (The Natural daugher), then ‘Le Pied de Fanchette’ (Fanchette’s foot).” (Dictionnaire des auteurs, IV, 70)
“The author wrote this interesting anecdote after the story of Edme-Rapenot, bookseller, who had known the heroine and her daughter”. (Rives Childs)
“I instantly started to write, in an isolated room of Quillau’s printing office, where I was then busy fitting in ‘la Confidence nécessaire’. It was an eight-day work… We were in 1768 and it was the fourth work I had composed since I returned from Sacy on October 1st, 1767. ‘La Fille naturelle’ is the most touching work of all of my productions, the story of ‘Zéphire’ excepted, and even one of the most useful. I won’t analyze it, as it is kept in ‘les Contemporaines’, in two short stories, one entitled ‘la Sympathie paternelle’, the other ‘la Fille reconnue’, apart from the fact that I made of it an equally interesting comedy, entitled ‘la Mère impérieuse ou la Fille naturelle’, of which I will give an account. The sale of this novel was profitable and helped me living on” (Mes ouvrages, p. 12-14)
A precious copy, as new, preserved as published, untrimmed in its provisional blank cased binding.
Provenance: handwritten ex-libris on the title “Alexandria Cocconia Polisiania, 1776”.