Paris, chez Pierre Promé, sur le Quay des Grands Augustins, à la Charité, 1673.
Small 8vo [154 x 88 mm] of (2) ll. for title, privilege and list of actors, 92 pp.
[Bound with] : – Chamfort. La Jeune indienne, comédie en un acte et en vers, Représentée pour la première fois par les Comédiens François Ordinaires du Roi, le 30 Avril 1764.
Amsterdam, A. Hupkes, 1764.
Small 8vo of 36 pp.
[And] : – Diderot. Le Père de famille, comédie en cinq actes et en prose.
Liège, D. de Boubers, 1769.
– Molière. Sganarelle ou le cocu imaginaire. Comédie. Représentée pour la première fois sur le Théâtre du Petit Bourbon, le 28 jour de May 1660. Par la Troupe de Monsieur Frere Unique du Roy.
1 frontispiece, pp. 265 to 304, (2) ll.
– Molière. Les Facheux.
1 frontispiece, (1) l., pp. 73 to 128.
– Boursault. Esope à la cour, comédie héroique.
Paris, Pierre Ribou, n.d.
(4) ll., 86 pp.
Bound in full contemporary marbled calf, decorated spine ribbed, red morocco lettering-piece, red edges. Eighteenth century binding.
First edition, second issue, of the last play published during the author’s lifetime. Only 5 copies of the first issue are known, with the title dated 1672.
“This comedy having been printed towards the end of the year, as proved by the mention at the bottom of the Privilege: ‘Achevé d’imprimer le 10 Décembre 1672’, it is likely that the edition was started with the title bearing the indication of the year 1672 and interrupted afterwards to change this date and by that very fact to rejuvenate the play“. (Monsieur le Baron de Ruble, Livres rares et précieux, 384).
Tchemerzine, IV, p. 799 ; Guibert, pp. 347-352 ; Le Petit, p. 309.
This work, published without dedication or preface, is the last play published by Molière; it was published one month before his death. This edition had been printed at his expense and under his eyes, with his spelling.
This comedy in five acts and in verse was performed for the first time on march 11, 1672 at the theatre of the Palais Royal in Paris, and not in Versailles in front of the King. It was a great success for over the 215 performances this play enjoyed during the reign of Louis XIV.
Many bibliographers have emphasized the elegance and perfection of this edition by Pierre Promé.
“Let us note that the edition of Pierre Promé was particularly careful and exceeds appreciably in perfection the editions of Jean Ribou”. (Guibert).
“The ‘Femmes Savantes’ remains one of Molière’s best plays. He knew how to bring to light with a happiness equal to that of the Ecole des Femmes the ridiculousness of these poets of the last order in front of whom women stuffed with a false knowledge and an immense credulity swoon with admiration. On the purely literary level this play is one of the most perfect. Tradition has it that Boileau read it and made some changes. Although Molière, a poet by temperament, but an actor by taste, wrote more as an actor than as a poet, it must be recognized that the ‘Femmes Savantes’ confirm his qualities as a writer and prove that Molière was really in full possession of his genius at the time of its writing.” (Guibert).
This first edition has always been highly appreciated for its literary perfection and the charm of its text, as well as for the circumstances of its publication, a few weeks before the author’s death.
Precious copy, the largest known (height: 154 mm) preserved in its early eighteenth century binding.
Provenance: the copy of A. J. Guibert, bibliographer of Œuvres de Molière published in the seventeenth century, Paris, Editions du C.N.R.S., 1961, I, p. 351, n°1.
It is followed by La Jeune indienne by Mr. de Chamfort (1764), Le Père de famille by Diderot (1769), Sganarelle by Molière (from the Œuvres complètes, P. 1, 1682), Les Facheux by Molière, Esope à la cour by Boursault.