• <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION, Chicago, 1968). <i>Collection of papers of John M. Bailey, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, concerning the convention</i>. Various places, 1968.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (ARMSTRONG, NEIL.) VERNE, JULES. <i>A Trip to the Moon.</i> New York: F. M. Lupton, September 9, 1893. Signed by Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> [COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER, Amerigo Vespucci ..] Bernardus Albingaunensis .. Dialogo nuperrime edito Genue in 1512.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Announcing the Fall 2016 Auction Season
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b> Autographs
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 18:</b> Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 10:</b> 19th & 20th Century Literature
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 8:</b> Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Colored Plate Books
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 17:</b> Printed & Manuscript Americana
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 1:</b> Art, Press & Illustrated Books
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 29:</b> Illustration Art
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 3:</b> Old Master Through Modern Prints
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. Sept. 21, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> WARREN, JOSEPH. Letter Signed ("Jos Warren") as Chairman of the Committee of Safety. Cambridge, MA, June 4, 1775.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> WHITMAN, WALT. Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn, NY: [for the Author], 1855.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> JEFFERSON, THOMAS. Printed Broadside Signed ("Th: Jefferson") as Secretary of State. Philadelphia, February 12, 1793.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> CELLINI, BENVENUTO. 1500-1571. Autograph Letter Signed ("Beto. Cellini"). [Florence, c.1566].
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. Sept. 21, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Autograph Manuscript. [c.1795].
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> DICKENS, CHARLES. Great Expectations. London: Chapman and Hall, 1861.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> REED, JOHN. To the Honourable House of Representatives of the Freemen of Pennsylvania this Map of the City and Liberties of Phiadelphia With the Catalog of Purchasers is Humbly Dedicated.... [Philadelphia]: engraved by James Smit
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> ELIOT, THOMAS STEARNS. The Waste Land. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2013 Issue

The Modern Theophraste, Or The Rehabilitation of Pierre-Jacques Brillon

Thig813b

War to vices, not to the vicious

His first opus is very well written, but the next one happens to be more exciting. Indeed, though classified in categories such as Women, Ridicule, Of the Court, Of Gambling, etc., the portraits are here less confined to their subjects. The author’s note is another piece of wit. Brillon stepped away from his then deceased model by assuring that his book was not a book à clef, like La Bruyère’s. “I’ve declared war to vices,” he wrote, “not the vicious.” He claimed not to know the Court well enough to tell about real people’s stories – he nevertheless was quite acquainted with it, as proven by his chapter Of the Court: “To get cured from the lifestyle that once obsessed me like many others, I did not read La Bruyère’s portraits: the disgust of the courtisans convinced me more than any moral sentence. Lend an ear to those who live at the Court, they owe misery their talent of persuasion.” His portraits are quite dark – very grand siècle, indeed. Against ridicule, he wrote a few desperate lines: “Shall we hope for a change?” he asks. “Honestly, I don’t think so. Just in case, let’s write (À tout hasard, écrivons).”

Law & Provincial

Ridicule at Court was unforgivable. Nastiness was not. Brillon confessed in his own book that he was not free from ridicule himself – neither was he from nastiness. The portraits of the “provincials”, or countrymen, are so rude it is almost unbelievable. In France, we call “provincial” anyone living outside of Paris. Sometimes, some “provinciaux” feel like they are treated with contempt from Parisians – even today. They sure were by Brillon, who wrote: “A leopard never changes its spots, mostly if it was born in the middle of a field, or in a city surrounded by woods: such men are savages, a little bit less fierce than the real ones. I probably outrage the Provinciaux, who judge this portrait too mean, and swear not to read the next one. This is how I definitely identify barbarians. Let’s cut it short – and let’s not disrespect the inhabitants of Province; I almost wrote the inhabitants of the bush.” Mr. Brillon did not care about being boycotted in the bookshops of the country where only bad books were sold anyway. What is funny about these portraits is that, despite the magnificent style of their author, they are nowadays a paramount of ridicule.


Conclusion

Pierre-Jacques Brillon did not go any further with literature and focused on his Dictionnaire des Arrêts, ou la Jurisprudence universelle des Parlements de France, a judiciary book published in six in-folio volumes in 1727 – he was then over 50, and died 9 years later. “This compilation is the fruit of a learnt and hard-working man”, concluded FX de Feller in his Dictionnaire historique. It is a pity, as many of his portraits happen to be more entertaining than some of La Bruyère’s. An old and wise man, Mr. Brillon had then forgotten his ridicule literary pretensions but was probably considering his books with tenderness and resignation. As Arthur Rimbaud later said (or almost): One is not serious when... 25.

Thibault Ehrengardt

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Harry Truman. Autograph Manuscript Notebook for Kansas City Law School Night Class.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.

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