RESTIF DE LA BRETONNE La Découverte australe par un Homme-volant ou le Dédale français ; Nouvelle très-philosophique : Suivie de la Lettre d’un Singe.


First and only edition of « one of Restif de la Bretonne’s rarest works ». (Rahir)

First edition of La Découverte australe, « one of Restif’s rarest works » (Rahir), illustrated with 23 engravings.

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SKU: LCS-3525 Categories: ,

Leipsick, 1781.

4 volumes 12mo [163 x 98 mm] of: I/ 1 frontispiece, 240 pp., 3 plates, small imperfection on pp. 93 and 117; II/ 1 frontispiece, pp. 241 to 436, 15 plates; III/ 1 frontispiece, pp. 437 to 624 and pp. 1 to 92, 1 plate; IV/ 1 frontispiece on double-page, pp. 93 to 334, small wormhole in the margin of pp. 225 to 245 not touching the text. Bound in contemporary quarter calf, blue marbled paper boards, flat spines decorated with gilt fillets, red morocco lettering pieces, yellow edges. Contemporary binding.

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First and only edition of « one of Restif de la Bretonne’s rarest works ». (Rahir) Rahir, Bibliothèque de l’amateur, 895; Cohen, Guide de l’amateur de livres à gravures, 877; Bulletin Morgand et Fatout, 7774; Sander 1693; P.L. Jacob, Bibliographie de tous les ouvrages de Restif de la Bretonne, 198 à 207; Rives-Child, XXIII, pp. 278-281.

Censored copy, bound at the time of publication without the leaves 337 to 422 of part IV, like almost every copy.

« Most of the copies have suffered mutilations required by the Police. Restif had to suppress the pages 337 to 422, that is to say five of the diatribes that followed the one entitled ‘l’Homme de nuit’, the only one which found favour in the censorship eyes… As for the additional leaves of the part IV, it is Restif who made them carefully disappear, for personal reasons… This work, which is one of the rarest of the author, was only published in 1781, and probably after the slowness and the difficulties from the censorship and the police. » (P.L. Jacob)

« This work is one of the most peculiar by Restif and one of the less common. The recent progress of aviation drew the attention of the inquisitive persons to this book that we believe will rapidly increase in price. » (Cohen)

« This work, one of the most peculiar that Restif has written, is very sought-after, not only by the Restif lovers but also by collectors of books about utopia and aeronautics. ‘It is really noteworthy, Lacroix says, that Restif led his researches on the way to travel in the air, three years before the discovery of the brothers Montgolfier, who made the first balloon experience in the month of June 1783.’ It is still remarkable, although nobody ha pointed it out, that Restif, in this work had foreseen a vehicle able to travel without horses. In the peace interest, he proposes an association of European nations. Thing even more peculiar, Restif, anticipating the ASPCA, demands that ‘we would be fair to animals’ » (Rives Childs).

« The basis of the physical system developed in this work is that originally there was only one animal and one plant on our globe. The differences in soils and temperatures led the variety of beings and produced mixed animals. The description of the machine invented by Victorin to rise up in the air should interest many people » (Monselet, Retif de la Bretonne, n°22)

The present edition is illustrated in the first issue with 4 frontispieces, including 1 on double-page, and with 19 splendid imaginary figures which represent the flying man, but also monkey men, bear men, pig men, bull men, beaver men, horse men, lion men, frog men, etc.

« Some of the figures are rather free and explain that the book was often destroyed. » (Rahir)

A precious copy of this first edition sought-after by the Restif lovers and the science fiction lovers, preserved in its contemporary uniform binding.

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