LAET, Jean de L’Histoire du Nouveau Monde ou Description des Indes occidentales, Contenant dix-huict Livres. Enrichi de nouvelles Tables Geographiques & Figures des Animaux, Plantes & Fruicts.


Rare first French translation of this work by Jean de Laet about America

Rare first French edition of this work by Jean de Laet about America, the best and most complete editions, illustrated with 64 wood-engravings and 14 maps on double page.

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Leyde, chez Bonaventure & Abraham Elzevier, 1640.

Folio [353 x 210 mm] of (14) ll., 632 pp. illustrated with 64 vignettes in the text, (12), 14 folding maps, a few minor foxing. Granite-like brown roan, gilt fillet on the covers, spine ribbed previously restored and decorated with blind-stamped fleurons and gilt fillets. Contemporary binding.

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Rare first French translation of this work by Jean de Laet about America, the best and most complete editions, widely enlarged compared to the first Flemish one of 1625. Willems, Les Elzevier, n°497; Huth Library Catalogue, p.813; Chadenat, n°1395.

It indeed includes many original additions and more especially about the Indian lexicons that were added.

This French translation of Laet contains many materials not to be found in the original Dutch, chiefly vocabularies of Indian tribes. Dr. Asher was not able to procure a copy of this rare work” (Sabin 38558).

« Thus the most complete is this French translation of 1640. In it de Laet narrates the sacking of Bahia and the conquest of Olinda, Itamaraca, Paraiba and Rio Grande de Norte” Borba de Moraes, 1983.

“Jean de Laet’s work, in which are summed up all the travels of the explorers who discovered the different parts of America, was first published in Dutch in 1628, then in 1630. In 1639, the Elzevier gave a Latin translation. The French one, published seven years later, was supposed to be dedicated to the Cardinal de Richelieu; the Elzevier had even ordered to Patru a dedicatory epistle, which they finally gave up, but whose text, very pompous, was kept for us in the compilation of the famous lawyer’s ‘Plaidoyers’.” (Picot, Catalogue Rothschild, n°1960).

“This work is filled with excellent research as much compared to the settlement of the Europeans in America as for the natural history, the character and the customs of the AmericansCharlevoix.

“This rare book contains several documents for the American philology, taken mainly from Ramusio’s collection, for the languages of the New France, and from Léry’s relation for the Brazilian part” (Leclerc, n°317).

The abundant illustration is composed of 14 double-page copper-engraved maps by Hessel Gerritsz (385 x 350 mm) representing the different parts of the New World and of 64 woodcuts in the text dedicated to fauna and flora of the regions described. The map of New England is one of the first ones to show Manhattan (Manhattes).

A precious copy of this sought-after description of America, preserved in its contemporary binding.

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LAET, Jean de