• <b>Seth Kaller:</b> “America the Beautiful”
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington, Tongue-in-Cheek, Writes James McHenry About His Wife or Mistress—But Funding the Continental Army is the Real Topic
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Young’s Map of the United States
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> President Lincoln & His Most Profitable Client, the Illinois Central Railroad
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Thanks Former Pro-Slavery and Newly Republican Congressman for a Fiery Anti-Slavery Speech at a Philadelphia Campaign Rally
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> “A Visit From St. Nicholas” - great association copy inscribed by Clement C. Moore
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Einstein Agrees to Allow “a Short Book on the Hydrogen Bomb” to Use His Statement Made on Eleanor Roosevelt’s TV Show
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The Building Blocks of Albert Einstein’s Creative Mind
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> A Unique Manuscript Map of Block Island Sound Including Fisher’s and Gardiner’s Islands, the Hamptons, and Montauk Point
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> J.R.R. Tolkien Writes his Proofreader with a Lengthy Discussion of the Lord of the Rings, Including Criticism of Radio Broadcasts of his Work
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Six Benjamin Franklin Signed Receipts – Including his Earliest Obtainable Autograph — Acknowledging a Donation to the Famous Library Company He Founded, and Five Payments for His Pennsylvania Gazette
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Sherman Dishes on Lincoln & Thomas, Meade, Sheridan, Halleck & Grant
  • <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> BROWNING, ELIZABETH BARRETT. Autograph Manuscript Initialed ("E.B.B."), being the working notebook for the poems contained in <i>The Seraphim and Other Poems</i>. $400,000 to 600,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> WILDE, OSCAR. Two leaves, pp 31-34, from the first appearance of <i>The Picture of Dorian Gray in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine for July, 1890</i>, with Wilde's autograph revisions. $40,000 to 60,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories and Tragedies; Published according to the true Originall Copies. Second Impression. [THE SECOND FOLIO.]</i> $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> KENNEDY, JOHN FITZGERALD. Photograph Signed ("John F. Kennedy") and Inscribed, 8 x 10 inch gelatin silver print, of Senator Kennedy and Miss Barelli, at the swearing of the secretarial oath for Miss Barelli. $1,200 to 1,800
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> COOPER, JAMES FENIMORE. Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter XXVII of <i>Afloat and Ashore</i>. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> IRVING, WASHINGTON. Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter 20 from Volume IV of <i>The Life of George Washington</i>. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> VERNE, JULES. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Jules Verne"), being the complete short story "<i>Une fantaisie de docteur Ox</i>". $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> ALCHEMY. <i>[The Crowning of Nature, or Coronatio Naturae.]</i> Original alchemical manuscript on paper, ruled in red, with watermark of the arms of Schieland. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> DE JODE, CORNELUS. 1568 - 1600. <i>Quivirae Regnu, Cum Alija Versus Borea</i>. [Antwerp: Arnoldum Coninx, 1593]. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> HOOKER, JOSEPH DALTON. <i>The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya; Being an Account, Botanical and Geographical, of the Rhododendrons Recently Discovered in the Mountains of Eastern Himalaya</i>… $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> CATLIN, GEORGE. <i>North American Indian Portfolio. Hunting scenes and amusements of the Rocky Mountains and prairies of America. From drawings and notes of the author, made during eight years' travel.</i> $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. HESLER, ALEXANDER. Platinum print, 8 3/4 x 6 3/4 in, of a beardless Lincoln, 1860.<br>$2,000 to 3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Single leaf from a paper copy of the Gutenberg Bible, Mainz, 1455, in a copy of Newton's <i>A Noble Fragment</i>. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Immanuel Kant, <i>Critik der reinen Vernunft</i>, first edition, Riga, 1781. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Hans Holbein, <i>The Images of the Old Testament</i>, with 94 woodcut illustrations, first edition in English, Lyon, 1549. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Samuel Johnson, <i>A Dictionary of the English Language</i>, first edition, London, 1755. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b><br>John Milton, <i>Paradise Lost</i>, first edition, London, 1668.<br>$6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Antonio de Guevara, <i>The Dial of Princes</i>, London, 1568.<br>$3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> <i>Oraciones de los SS. Mysterios Gloriosos y Dolorosos</i>, manuscript in Spanish, Brussels, 1676.<br>$3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b><br>Jan Nieuhoff, et al., <i>An Embassy from the East-India Company... to the Grand Tartar Cham, Emperour of China, </i>London, 1671. 4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Moses Maimonides, <i>Ha-Higayon... Logica</i>, first edition, Basel, 1527.<br>$800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Petrus Berchorius, <i>Liber Bibliae moralis</i>, fourth edition of the first volume, Cologne, 1477.<br>$10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b> Niccolò Machiavelli, <i>The Florentine Historie</i>, first edition in English, London, 1595. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 9:</b><br>Sir Philip Sidney, <i>The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia</i>, third edition, London, 1598. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Now in press: 19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> <i>The First American Magna Carta. English Liberties.</i> Boston, 1721.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Babbage presentation to Peel, the man who killed the Difference Engine 1832
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> The Stamp Act. 1765
    <b>Now in press: 19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Central Park Photographs by Prevost 1862
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Salem Witch Trials. Wonders of the Invisible World 1693
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Mammoth print of Millie-Christine, "The Carolina Twins" c. 1868

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2016 Issue

Dr. Charron, Barking Fools...

289880e0-5972-45bd-adec-3a7945493497

Pierre Charron.

In 1783, Jean-François Bastien put out an edition of Pierre Charron’s De La Sagesse (1) to set the record straight. He argued that all former editions had been incorrect and unfaithful to the first edition of 1601 (Millanges, at Bordeaux). Yet, Charron’s famous book, sometimes said to equal Montaigne’s Les Essais, is closely linked to a powerful Dutch dynasty of printers, the Elzeviers, who published it four times, in 1646, 1656, 1659 (no date), and 1662. According to the bibliophilist Alphonse Willems, (2) « the four editions are well executed, but the 1646 one is unquestionably the nicest one.» But Jean-François Bastien rated none of the Elzeviers’ editions, mostly because they are “incorrect and inaccurate”—so he says.

 

Pierre Charron (1541-1603) is famous for his friendship with Michel Montaigne, whom he met in Bordeaux, France, around 1589. They became so close that the latter even granted the former the right to use his coat of arms after his death. Jean-François Bastien joined a previously unpublished account of Charron’s life to his book, describing him as “of medium height, plump enough, always joyful and smiling, with a broad forehead, a straight nose getting big at the tip; he had white hair and a white beard, a powerful voice, and a manly vocabulary.” The son of a family of 25 —including 22 from the same mother— Charron received a good education, and soon distinguished himself as a brilliant orator. When in Bordeaux, he published the first version of De La Sagesse. “But Charron was unhappy about the way his book had been printed in Bordeaux,” writes Bastien. “Therefore, he came to Paris in 1603 (...) to work on a new edition.” In fact, Charron felt compelled to rework his book, since some theologians of La Sorbonne had criticized it as a gateway to deism. He asked Denis du Val to print the revised edition, but “never had the opportunity to fulfil his project, meeting his death on Sunday, 16th, November, at the corner of the streets des Noyers and S. Jean de Beauvais, in Paris,” says Bastien. “He was around 62 and a half.” He died from an apoplexy, “having refused to follow the advice of the famous doctor Marescot, who had urged him to be bled.” How unwise!

 

Soft Wisdom

 

The first edition of De La Sagesse (Bordeaux) was published by Simon Millanges. Jacques-Charles Brunet, in his Manuel du Libraire (Paris, 1860), describes it as “quite valued”, probably because it contains “various passages that have been suppressed or softened in the 1604 edition of Paris, published after the death of the author (...) by La Roche Maillet, lawyer.” Indeed, the following editions were expunged of a few ideas that had embittered La Sorbonne. “Charron had forethought that the weak and superstitious minds would not welcome his book, and that it would be censored by the presumptuous, the arrogant, the stubborn, (...) who think they know it all, and who consider themselves the wisest men in the world,” writes Bastien. “I genuinely say what I think and believe,” writes Charron. “And I doubt not that the mischievous and the people of low understanding shall bite; but who can avoid it?” As a matter of fact, “the theologians swarmed him at once,” deplores J. Duvernet in his Histoire de la Sorbonne (Paris, 1791), “and he went to the grave surrounded by the chaos of their foolishness and persecution.” 

 

Charron’s first book, Les trois Vérités (1595) was yet a treatise against the Jews, the Muslims and the Heretics—a Catholic manifest, so to speak. But, several parts of De La Sagesse were suspicious to the zealous theologians. Chaudon lists some of them in his Dictionnaire historique (Lyon, 1804): “Charron had written that religions were coming from men, and not from God; he made an exception in his second edition for the Christian one—as required. He had also said that the immortality of the soul was the most spread belief among mankind, and the less demonstrated; and this guilty passage was also softened.” In fact, Charron portrays Man as a sensual creature, who must find God through a natural process rather than through religion. “I want people to be good, independently from any idea of hell or paradise,” he writes. “He was also blamed for putting the following words in the mouth of an atheist: Religion is a wise invention of Man, aiming at maintaining the rabble in their duty,” adds Chaudon. No wonder some libertines claimed his book as their bible. Yet, Charron was just fighting against the hypocrisy of religions, and his book sounds like an appeal to the Christian conscience: “We behave ourselves on the outside, while sending our mind to the brothel.

 

He saw carnal love as “a furious and feverish passion that might be dangerous to those who can’t resist it.” At the same time, he wonders: “Why do we talk about the ‘shameful parts’ of Man? Since they are so natural (...), so legitimate and necessary?” As a matter of fact, many copies of De La Sagesse suffer from a recurrent defect: the allegorical engraving bound at the head of the volume has often been darkened. This engraving, absent from the first edition but present in almost every posterior one, represents a naked Wisdom standing on a footstool, peacefully staring at herself in a mirror while holding four women in chains; they stand for passion, superstition, opinion and knowledge. In the background, we can read the author’s motto: I know not, the echo of Montaigne’s What do I know?, and which he had written on the frontispiece of his house, in Condom—yes, where condoms were invented. But some prude readers considered their duty to conceal the ‘shameful parts’ of wisdom.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Of Wisdom. Brunet, in his Manuel du Libraire, writes: “There are two English translations of De La Sagesse; one by Sampson (London, Lennard, 1658), in-4°, with the portrait of the translator, and another one by George Stanhope (London, 1697). »

 

2. Les Elzevier, Histoire et annales typographiques (Bruxelles, 1880).

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    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>[SAXTON, Christopher]. <i> [An Atlas of England and Wales]</i>. [London, Christopher Saxton, 1579].
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    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>BLAEU, Johannes. <i>Grooten Atlas</i>. Amsterdam, Joan Blaeu, 1662-1665.
    <b>Daniel Crouch Rare Books</b><br>INGEBORG BRUN, Emmy. <i>Mars efter Lowell’s Glober 1894-1914</i>. Denmark, [c1915].
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