A Paris, chez Charles de Sercy, au Palais, 1676.
2 volumes 12mo [148 x 86 mm] of : I/ (6) ll. including a portrait and 468 pp. ; II/ (18) ll., 448 pp., 2 ll. Some browned leaves. Full light brown marbled sheepskin, cyphers “C.E.” and “F.M.” respectively gilt stamped in the center of the front and back cover, decorated flat spines, lettering pieces in green sheepskin, red edges. 18th century binding.
First collective edition of the Works by Cyrano de Bergerac, illustrated with the portrait of the author.
Tchemerzine, II, 715 ; Brunet, II, 461.
This edition collects the different work by Cyrano de Bergerac that Ch. De Sercy already published separately, namely:
-Part I : the Lettres de Monsieur de Cyrano Bergerac, les Lettres satyriques, les Lettres amoureuses, le Pédant joué, La mort d’Agrippine.
-Part II : the Histoire comique ou Voyage de la lune et Nouvelles Œuvres.
“Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-1655) enlisted as a cadet in the company of the guard then abandoning the army, he frequented in Paris the most libertine circles and was disciple of Gassendi and the young Molière. His dissipated life soon put an end to his modest patrimony, so he lived for some time with M. D’Assoucy; renouncing absolute independence, merely in 1647, he gained possession of the little paternal inheritance. It was at this time that he wrote the ‘Lettres satyriques’ against Scarron, Monfleury, d’Assoucy.”
The Letters of Cyrano de Bergerac were written at various times between 1639 (seat of Mouzon) and 1650 (his break-up with the poet d’Assoucy); we can not date the time of writing of each of them. This work of youth, for the most part, is part of the literary tradition of the epistolary art illustrated by Guez de Balzac and Voiture. The poetic content takes up themes and images borrowed from Théophile de Viau or Tristan l’Hermite. Cyrano adds a personal verve and a turn of mind that will contribute to the success of the collection, despite the reserves of the learned who condemned certain stylistic facilities (or certain audacities!) and the excess of a creative fantasy giving free rein to the imagination. The Lettres diverses paint the variations of the seasons by playing on the metamorphoses of nature with an exaggerated baroqueism and multiplying the paradoxes. The Lettres satiriques associate a burlesque denunciation of fashionable vices (Le Poltron, le Liseur de romance, Le Pédant) with personal attacks of extreme violence (against Scarrand, d’Assoucy). The Lettres amoureuses take up the metaphors of gallant poetry by spinning them in a very formal search for the point and the surprise. The aggressive Mazarinades and the Lettre contre les frondeurs, a pamphlet against the previous invectives, echo, in a caricatured but sometimes ferociously funny way, contemporary events. But for the modern reader, the most interesting letters are those that reflect the libertine thought of the author and offere an ironic and critical testimony on the mentalities of the time (Lettre pour les sorciers et Lettre contre les sorciers, Lettre contre le Caresme, Lettre contre un prédicateur superstitieux). These letters delivers us the way to live, to think and to write from Cyrano, with all the ingeniosity and fertility that characterizes it. (P. Ro.)
Precious copy preserved in its 18th century binding bearing in the center the gilt monogram of the possessor of the time.