• <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> SHAKESPEARE, William. <i>Comedies, Histories and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies.</i> The second Impression. London, 1632. £120,000 to £180,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> [GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von (1749–1832)]. <i>Das Römische Carneval.</i> Berlin and Gotha, 1789. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> [SHAKESPEARE, William]. Manuscript part for a contemporary analogue to <i>Henry IV,</i> part I, n.p. [perhaps Oxford or London], n.d. [c.1580s – before c.1620]. £25,000 to £35,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von (1749–1832). <i>Faust. Ein Fragment... Ächte Ausgabe.</i> Leipzig: Georg Joachim Göschen, 1790. £3,000 to £5,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> SHAKESPEARE, William. <i>The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark. As it is now Acted at his Highness the Duke of York's Theatre.</i> London, 1683. £60,000 to £90,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> [GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von (1749–1832)]. <i>Die Leiden des jungen Werthers.</i> Leipzig: Weygand, 1774. £15,000 to £20,000.
  • <b>Sotheby’s: English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations.<br>Online now through December 10
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> Adam Smith. <i>The Wealth of Nations</i>. First edition, 1776. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> William Shakespeare. <i>Comedies, Histories, Tragedies</i>. 1632, the Second Folio. £70,000 to £100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> The Saint Albans Chronicle.] <i>Here begynneth a shorte & a breue table on these cronycles.</i> Westminster : Wynkyn de Worde, 1497. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s: English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations.<br>Online now through December 10
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> E.H. Shepherd. “A Very Grand Thing – The Trouble at Owl’s House”. Original ink and watercolour. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> Charles Darwin. <i>On the Origin of Species</i>. First edition, 1859. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, now to Dec. 10:</b> William Blake. <i>Illustrations of the Book of Job.</i> 1825 [but 1826]. £10,000 to £15,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b><br>Dr. Seuss, pen, ink & watercolor, calendar illustration, Thomas D. Murphy Company, 1937. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b> Georges Lepape, <i>Sur la Terrasse,</i> gouache & pencil, cover for <i>Vogue,</i> 1930. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b> Charles Dana Gibson, <i>The Coming Game, Yale vs. Vassar,</i> pen & ink, for <i>Life</i> magazine, 1895. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b><br>H.A. Rey, color pencil, charcoal, watercolor & gouache, for <i>Rafi et les 9 singes,</i> 1939. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b> Ernest H. Shepard, pen & ink, for Kenneth Grahame’s <i>Bertie’s Escapade,</i> 1949. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b> Charles Schulz, <i>The Biggest Star Measured So Far,</i> ink & wash, original <i>Peanuts</i> cartoon, published 1961. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b> Saul Steinberg, <i>12 Biographies, A to B,</i> pen & ink with collage, final illustration in his book <i>The Labyrinth,</i> 1960. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b><br>Jo Mielziner, <i>A Streetcar Named Desire,</i> watercolor, graphite & gouache, first color study for the award-winning 1947 production. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Nevermore,</i> watercolor & ink, for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1973. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>I Should Worry,</i> watercolor, gouache & graphite, cover for <i>Judge</i> magazine, 1914. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b> Edward Gorey, <i>Swan Lake, Hunters/Siegfried, Van Rothbart,</i> watercolor, pen & ink, costume designs, 1975. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 10:</b> Ludwig Bemelmans, <i>Sketch for Madeline,</i> gouache & ink. $6,000 to $9,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2019 Issue

Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Prudence

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Imagine going back in time, and ending up at the Palace of Versailles in the 17th century! Welcome to this golden jungle, populated with fierce courtesans ready to devour you. How will you survive among those terrible people? Don’t worry, just read L’Homme de Cour (The Man of Court) by Baltasar Gracian (1601-1658)! This compilation of 300 maxims is a how-to-make-it-at-Court kit. Let’s stick to it, then.

 

Our copy was published by François Barbier in Lyon, France, in 1696. The agreement of the King’s attorney, granting Barbier the right to publish this work, is printed on the last page, as “the privilege of six years granted to Jean Boudot on February 25, 1684, is now expired.” The latter is the first French edition. It came out both as a quarto and a duodecimo, adorned with a surprising frontispiece—of the author? No, of Louis XIV, the King of France. The website of the Royal Collection Trust reads: “An engraving of Louis XIV, King of France. Whole length with curled hair, moustache, classical armour, and mantle. The King is pictured seated, holding a book in his right hand and a plan of a fortified city in his left hand, with further maps and plans on a table to the right and with a view of allegorical medals hanging on a wall in the background. The fortified town on the plan held by Louis is Luxembourg, which was captured by the French in 1684 during the War of the Reunions (1683–4). The King is shown seated in a room, with columns and drapery behind and with a view of a garden visible through an open archway to the right.”

 

Baltasar Gracian was a Spanish Jesuit. He wrote his maxims in his native tongue, inspired by the Spanish court, and published them under the title of Oraculo Manual y arte de prudencia in 1647. In England, it was later translated under various titles including The Courtiers Manual Oracle or, the Art of Prudence (London, 1685), from which the quotes of the next paragraph are taken. For his part, French translator Hamelot de la Houssaie (1634-1706) “successfully adapted Gracian’s book to the reality of Versailles. Praised for its incisive style and its disenchanted vision of human soul, this treaty soon became the breviary of the courtesans all over Europe,” Joël Cornette writes in 2014 (L’Histoire magazine). In his preface, de La Houssaie explains why he changed the title: “Not only is my title less sumptuous and less hyperbolic than the original, but it is also closer to the contents of the book, which is a sort of rudiment to life at court, or a code of politics.” His epistle to Louis XIV reads: “many maxims faithfully portray Your Majesty.” L'Homme de Cour is very well written*, and full of striking French sonorities that fit the topic and the French ears, as well as the French court.

 

So, put on your silky socks and your powdered wig, and let’s boldly enter Versailles. Many French poets have described the court of Louis XIV as a cruel and merciless world. Gracian confirms that, whether in Spain or France, “the true wild beasts are where most people are” (maxim LXXIII); but do not panic, with Gracian on our side, we’ll turn predators in this courtesan-eat-courtesan world. First, bear in mind that “there’s neither pleasure nor profit in playing one’s game too openly” (II), and that “we ought then to imitate the method of God Almighty, who always holds men in suspense.” We will stay away from the vulgar—the scum of the earth! Of course, it will be necessary to “speak with the vulgar” (XLIII), because if you “go against the stream”, it is “impossible to succeed.” Thus, we’ll have to adapt our opinions, and learn to “retire within the sanctuary of our silence.

 

We are wise, but nobody must notice, for that might be the end of our credit. Let us then “commit small faults on design” (LXXXIII), thus “throwing our cloak before the eyes of envy, to save reputation for ever after.” Let us be “men of metal” and keep a stiff upper lip in any situation, as “a man who is master of himself will soon be of others.” Show some wit to seduce, but don’t you ever, ever “outdo” your master! “Wit is the king of attributes, and by consequent, every offence against it is no less a crime than treason.”

 

Let’s find the weakness of every man to “gain our ends upon them” (XXVI). Thus we shall be “desired and then regretted” (LIX). Our “conscience” (XCVI) (the French translation says “synderesis”, meaning the highest point of our soul) must tend towards “reason and prudence” as this “natural inclination (...) takes always the surer side.” My dear friends, from near and far (“to have friends is a second being”, but “some are good to be made use of at distance, and others near at hand”), it will be necessary to “comply with the times” (CXX). And always remember that “where there’s no knowledge”, it is “no small piece of wit to counterfeit the ignorant.” Unfortunately, we’re living in an “unhappy age, wherein virtue passes for a stranger, and vice for a current mode!” So, we need to adapt. “Let a wise man live as he can, if he cannot as he would.

 

Gracian’s vision of life might be disheartened, yet it is not cynical. Imperfection, when wisely counterfeited, is part of perfection. Moral values are deeply praised in his maxims, but perfect men must act in disguise and “cover themselves with the fox’ skin when they cannot do it with the lion’s,” as “art ought to supply strength.” Yet, Gracian despises deceit and falsehood, as unworthy of “gentlemen.” Like Machiavelli, he is a pragmatic. In Germany, his maxims were translated by Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche considered that “Europe has never produced anything finer or more complicated in matters of moral subtlety.” La Rochefoucauld was clearly inspired by his maxims to write his own, and when a new translation (C. Mauer) of The Art of Prudence was printed in America in 1992, it became a national bestseller. In fact, Gracian’s book was never out fashion, and is still regarded as a masterpiece. First, because it was chiefly inspired by ancient philosophers (Pliny the Younger, Tacitus...), and secondly, because man will be man.

 

Ironically, Gracian eventually fell into disgrace because of his satirical novel Criticon (1651), published without the approval of his Jesuit superiors. Warned about the discontent of the latter and the courtesans after the first volume came out, the author of “the art of prudence” forgot that “he who yields to his passions stoops from the condition of a man, to that of a beast; whereas he that disguises them, preserves his credit,” and that “he who shows his game, runs the risk of losing it” (XCVIII). He therefore published the second part of his work in 1657, and was soon after exiled to Graus, Spain. Despite all his efforts, and his maxims, he never totally overcame this blow of fate. We can teach wisdom, but can we ever learn?

 

When Baltasar Gracian exalts “the wise and the prudent” in his maxims, we all assume he implicitly talks about us. Yet, if you often disagree with him, thinking you should always speak your mind, stand for justice notwithstanding the consequences, that you’d rather be “sincere and betrayed” than artful and triumphant, that there’s more to life than success in society, it’s not necessarily because Gracian is wrong. It might be because youbut, shhh! To tell the truth is “to draw out the hearts’ blood.” Thus, “there needs as much skill to know when to tell it, as to know when to conceal it.” Mesdames, Messieurs, suffer that I retire within the sanctuary of my silence.

 

Thibault Ehrengardt

 

 

*La Houssaie also added footnotes taken for other works of Gracian like El heroe, El politico or El discreto.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> ALBUM AMICORUM OF SCHELOMITH FLAUM. Autograph album containing drawings, autograph quotations and signatures from over 47 contributors, India, Europe, America, Israel and elsewhere, 1923–50. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> FLEMING, Ian (1908–1964). <i>Live and Let Die.</i> London: Jonathan Cape, 1954. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> HISTORY OF CINEMA. Animal Farm (1954), an animation archive from the Halas and Batchelor studios, [c.1954]. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> LE HAY, Jacques – [Charles de FERRIOL]. <i>Recueil de Cent Estampes representant differentes Nations du Levant...</i> Paris, 1714. [With:] <i>Explication des cents Estampes.</i> Paris, 1715. £25,000 to £35,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> THE LAST JUDGEMENT, historiated initial 'A' on a leaf from an Antiphonal on vellum illuminated by Nikolaus Bertschi [Augsburg, first quarter 16th century]. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> VALTURIUS, Robertus (1413–1484). <i>De re militari.</i> [Verona:] Johannes Nicolai de Verona, 1472. £170,000 to £250,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Macbeth: A Tragedy.</i> London, 1673. FIRST SEPARATE AND FIRST QUARTO EDITION. THE CHARLTON HESTON COPY. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> HEMINGWAY, ERNEST. <i>In Our Time.</i> Paris, 1924. FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL. <i>Fanshawe, A Tale.</i> Boston, 1828. FIRST EDITION OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. <i>Walden; Or, Life in the Woods.</i> Boston, 1854. FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.</i> London, 1685. THE FOURTH FOLIO, Brewster/Bentley issue. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> STEIG, WILLIAM. Original maquette and 58 finished drawings for <i>The Agony in the Kindergarten,</i> one of Steig's most important books. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> VERNE, JULES. <i>A Journey to the Centre of the Earth.</i> New York & London, 1872. FIRST EDITION, RARE AMERICAN ISSUE, with Scribner & Welford cancel title. $5,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> KING, STEPHEN. <i>Carrie.</i> New York, 1974. INSCRIBED FIRST EDITION, OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> APPLE MACINTOSH PROTOTYPE. 1983. The earliest known Macintosh with "Twiggy" drive, one of only two known working machines. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> PLATO. <i>Timaeus</i> [AND] <i>Critias</i> [from Ficini's 1484 Opera]. A LANDMARK OF SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> LOVELACE, AUGUSTA ADA. Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage Esq. London, 1843. FIRST EDITION, JOURNAL ISSUE, MOST IMPORTANT PAPER IN EARLY DIGITAL COMPUTING. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> APPLE-1 COMPUTER. Signed by Steve Wozniak, used in development of Apple II. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> DARWIN, CHARLES. 1809-1882. <i>On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection.</i> London, 1859. FIRST EDITION. $80,000 to $120,000.
  • <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>December 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Melville (Herman). <i>White Jacket; or, the World in a Man-of-War,</i> 1st edition, London, 1850. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Bracton (Henry de). <i>De legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae,</i> 1st edition, 1569. Ex libris Sir Daniel Dun (c.1545-1617). £3,000 to £5,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Edgar (Thomas). <i>The Lawes Resolutions of Womens Rights,</i> 1st edition, 1632. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>December 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Donne (John). <i>Poems,</i> 3rd edition, 1639. Ex libris Sir Geoffrey Keynes (1887-1982). £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Mandeville (Bernard). <i>The Fable of the Bees,</i> 1st edition, 1714. Rare inspiration for the Wealth of Nations. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Honter (Johannes, & others). <i>De Cosmographiae rudimentis,</i> Basel, 1561. Ex libris Georg Joachim Rheticus (1514-1574). £5,000 to £8,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>December 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Lincoln (Abraham). Military commission signed, Washington, 1864, and related documents. £3,000 to £5,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Faraday (Michael). Iron filings diagram on waxed blue paper, c.1850. £500 to £800.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Felixmüller (Conrad). <i>ABC,</i> 1st edition, Dresden, 1925. One of 10 hand-coloured copies. Ex libris Eduard Rosenbaum (1887-1979). £3,000 to £5,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>Printed Books, Maps & Autographs<br>December 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Kelmscott Press. <i>The Order of Chivalry,</i> 1893. One of 225 copies; presentation copy from Sydney Cockerell. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Anna Livia Plurabelle,</i> 1st edition, New York, 1928. One of 50 special copies on green paper. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Dominic Winter, Dec. 11:</b> Orwell (George). <i>Homage to Catalonia,</i> 1st edition, 1938. £2,500 to £3,300
  • <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Rare Books & Literature Sale<br>December 10, 2019</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Archive of almost 500 Quaker letters written between leading members of the Society of Friends in Ireland between about 1770 and 1830. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Heraldic Grants to the Delaval Family of Northumberland Manuscripts: 9 May 1761. Patent of Stephen Martin Leake. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Unique Manuscript – Miniature Book by Seamus Heaney. Holograph manuscript copy by Heaney of his poem <i>Mad Sweeney’s Praise of Trees</i>. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Rare Books & Literature Sale<br>December 10, 2019</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Yeats, Mangan and John McCall, with an ALS Yeats [W.B.]. <i>The Wanderings of Ossian and other Poems.</i> London, 1889. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Heaney (Seamus). <i>Toome</i>, illustrated by Jane Proctor. National College of Art and Design 1980. Extremely rare Heaney title limited to 15 copies. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Young (Ella). <i>Celtic Wonder Tales,</i> illustrated by Maud Gonne (four colour plates and other decorations). 1910. Signed by Gonne with an original sketch. €1,000 to €1,500.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Rare Books & Literature Sale<br>December 10, 2019</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> The Yeats Brothers “Jack & William” Yeats (Jack B.) RHA (1839-1922). An attractive small pencil portrait of his son Jack Yeats, aged perhaps 10-12, drawing of a bearded man on rear [with] a second drawing. €1,000 to €1500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> 18th c. Manuscript Volumes on French Peerage Manuscript: “Recueil de tous les actes concernant les Ducs & Pairs de France… Depuis l’an 900 jusqu’en 1660.” €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Churchill (Winston Spencer). <i>The River War, An Historical Account of The Reconquest of the Soudan.</i> 2 vols. roy 8vo L. 1899. First Edn. €800 to €1200.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Rare Books & Literature Sale<br>December 10, 2019</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Important Scientific Association Presentation Copy - Tyndall (John). <i>Heat considered as A Mode of Motion…</i> 1863. €600 to €800.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Receipt Signed by Chippewa Chiefs Document dated 24 May 1845 signed by five “Chippewa chiefs on the River Thames.” €400 to €600.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 10:</b> Bury (Lady Charlotte). <i>The Three Great Sanctuaries of Tuscany, Valombrosa, Camaldoli, Laverna.</i> Lg. oblong folio L. (J. Murray) 1833. First Edn. €250 to €350.
  • <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> AN EARLY DUTCH POCKET GLOBE ATTRIBUTED TO WILLEM BLAEU, AFTER C.1618. £70,000 to £100,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> BLAEU, Johannes (1596-1673). £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> BLAEU, Johannes. <i>Theatrum Statuum Regiae Celsitudinis Sabaudiae Ducis, Pedemontii principis, ... pars prima, exhibens Pedemontium ...</i> Amsterdam, 1682. £70,000 to £100,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> DUDLEY, Sir Robert, self-styled Duke of Northumberland and Earl of Warwick. <i>Arcano del Mare.</i> Florence, 1661. £500,000 to £700,000.
    <b>Christie’s London, Dec. 11:</b> The Mainz Psalter: <i>Psalterium Benedictinum cum canticis et hymnis,</i> for Bursfeld use. [Mainz:] Johann Fust and Peter Schoeffer, 29 August 1459. £5,000 to £10,000.

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