• <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> KEPLER INVESTIGATES PLANETARY MOTION. KEPLER, JOHANNES. 1571-1630. $400,000 to $600,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> THE FINAL ILLUSTRATION OF POOH AND PIGLET IN THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> GUTENBERG BIBLE LEAF. $60,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> ORTELIUS, ABRAHAM. 1527-1598. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> KNIGHT, HILARY. "Christmas Dinner at Maxime de la Falaise's" $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> GERSHWIN WORKING MUSICAL MANUSCRIPT PAGE FROM <i>OF THEE I SING.</i> $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> GILBERT, W.S. Original typed manuscript for <i>The Story of the Mikado.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> FINAL TYPED MANUSCRIPT FOR V.C. ANDREWS CLASSIC <I>FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC.</I> $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> ANNOTATED TYPESCRIPT DRAFT FOR KIPLING'S FINAL MOWGLI STORY. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> PRESENTATION COPY OF GUYS AND DOLLS. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> CHARLES DICKENS' CHINA INKWELL FEATURING A BEE READING, FROM GAD'S HILL. $6,000 to $8,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 13:</b> NELSON'S BATTLE PLAN FOR TRAFALGAR. $200,000 to $300,000
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Age of Wonder<br>Nov. 25 – Dec. 9, 2022</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 25-Dec. 9:</b> Darwin, Charles. His definitive statement on natural selection, and his legacy. $600,000 to $800,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 25-Dec. 9:</b> Darwin, Charles and Alfred Russel Wallace. Darwin announces the theory of natural selection. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 25-Dec. 9:</b> Jenner, Edward. Autograph letter, addressed to Dr. Wollaston, dated 21 November 1800, discussing the possible ill-effects of vaccination. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Age of Wonder<br>Nov. 25 – Dec. 9, 2022</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 25-Dec. 9:</b> De Quincey, Thomas. Autograph letter signed (Thos. De Quincey). "A conclusive experiment on the profit of leaving of leaving off opium.” $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 25-Dec. 9:</b> Melville, Herman. <i>Moby-Dick; or, The Whale.</i> New York: Harper & Brothers, 1851. “And God created great whales.” $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 25-Dec. 9:</b> Foote, Eunice Newton. "Circumstances affecting the heat of the sun's rays," [In:] <i>The American Journal of Science and Arts…</i> New York, 1856. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors’ Sale<br>6th and 7th December</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 6-7:</b> The Corner-stone Document of Irish Freedom. 1916 PROCLAMATION OF THE IRISH REPUBLIC. £140,000 to £180,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 6-7:</b> Joyce's Modern Masterpiece, in its one-and-hundredth Year. Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare & Co. 1922. £15,000 to £25,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 6-7:</b>A Request from Mr. Joyce. Joyce (James). Autograph Letter Signed to 'Dear Mr [Thomas] Pugh,' dated 6.8.1934. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors’ Sale<br>6th and 7th December</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 6-7:</b> Dun Emer Press: Yeats (Wm. Butler). <i>Stories of Red Hanrahan,</i> 8vo Dundrum 1904. Signed by Author. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 6-7:</b> Binding: <i>Specimens of Early English Poets,</i> 8vo Lond. (For Edwards, Pall Mall) 1790. £500 to £700.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 6-7:</b> Harry Clarke: Walter (L. D'O.) <i>The Years at the Spring,</i> An Anthology of Recent Poetry. 4to New York (Brentano's) 1920. Special signed limited edition. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors’ Sale<br>6th and 7th December</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 6-7:</b> Kipling (Rudyard). <i>Works,</i> including Writings, Novels, Poems etc. Bombay Edition, 31 vols. roy 8vo Lond. (MacMillan & Co.) 1913-1938. Signed by Author. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 6-7:</b> Dunraven (Edwin, Third Earl of). <i>Notes on Irish Architecture,</i> Ed. by Margaret Stokes, 2 vols. lg. folio Lond. 1875-1877. Castle Hackett copy. £1,500 to £2,400.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 6-7:</b> Kirby (Wm.) & Spence (Wm.) <i>An Introduction to Entomology,</i> 4 vols. 8vo Lond. 1822. With hand-coloured plates. £200 to £300.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors’ Sale<br>6th and 7th December</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 6-7:</b> Heaney (Seamus). <i>Death of a Naturalist,</i> 8vo Lond. (Faber & Faber) 1966 First Edition - Third Impression. Signed, & inscribed on title page 'Seamus Heaney’. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 6-7:</b> Glasgow Printing: Homer - <i>Iliad and Odyssey,</i> 4 vols. in 2, Glasgow (Robert & Andrew Foulis) 1756-1758. £1,0000 to £1,500.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2020 Issue

Antoine Bret, or the Dream Life of Ninon de Lenclos

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Ninon de Lenclos

Ninon de Lenclos (1616-1706) represents the French liberated woman and the feminine “bel esprit”. She was a free thinker, and very modern in the way she lived her love and sex life and attracted renowned thinkers of her time. I recently came across a small book about her that was put together by Antoine Bret (1717-1792) in 1751: Mémoires et Lettres pour servir à l’Histoire de la Vie de Mademoiselle de L’Enclos (Rotterdam)*. A fascinating read.

 

 

We’ve already discussed Ninon’s life in a previous article, when reviewing the forged collection of letters that she allegedly exchanged with Madame de Sévigné’s son. But this book (Amsterdam, 1751) gives a true portrait of Ninon. The author, Antoine Bret, dedicates his work to one Eugénie, prophesizing: “In a distant future, Ninon’s merit will be less underlined than her weaknesses. Young people will see her as a “precious woman”, women as a woman of loose morals, and people from high society as a character embellished by enthusiasm and partiality. But you, dear Eugénie, who judges no one harshly but yourself (...), you won’t be surprised to find out that her superior understanding, her eternal beauty and her exquisite character were admired by all.” I excitedly opened L’Abbé de Feller’s Dictionnaire Historique (Liège, 1792). I was impatient to read what this man, who judged everyone harshly, had written about this woman. I was not disappointed. “She didn’t want to sell her charms too openly, and thus she practiced a sort of decent “libertinage”. As corrupted minds always welcome the mask of virtue that covers the true face of vice, her house became the meeting place of the finest courtesans of the time.” She lived in a small house, Rue des Tournelles, in Paris. An orphan from age 15, she invested her money and lived on her interest all her life. Thus she remained independent. She was very close to the burlesque writer, Scarron, and his young wife, Madame de Maintenon (who later married Louis XIV). “There were times when both women had but a single bed to share for months,” Bret writes.

 

Bret also explains that she had “the nicest legs in the world, an admirable body and a gorgeous breast. She was beautiful upon examination rather than at first sight.” But there was something irresistible about her: “When she spoke, her pronunciation and her voice were filled with voluptuousness. Even her breathing awoke desire.” As a matter of fact, she seduced men like La Rochefoucault, Prince de Condé, Coligny, or Marquis de la Châtre—and they were not attracted to her body only: “Scarron asked her about his novels, Molière about his comedies and Fontenelle about his dialogues,” L’Abbé Feller admits. But—how come, Mr Feller? “The philosophers and ‘beaux esprits’ are so weak that they are flattered by the judgement of a mere courtesan whom they appoint judge of their works and talent.” All right!

 

According to Bret, Ninon de l’Enclos always refused money from her lovers. Seducing was apparently her main concern and she did it as long as she could. L’Abbé Geodyon was 29 when he met her—and she was 79. He had to wait several months before he could get what he wanted. Then one fine day of May, “it was getting hot, and Geodoyn found her lying on her couch; he jumped at her feet and begged her, in the name of love, to give him what she had promised. She gladly complied.” He then wondered: why did she keep him waiting for so long? She replied: “I apologize, it was as hard for me as it was for you; I just wanted to wait until I turned 80—which happened yesterday evening.” In French, we say: c’est dans les vieux pots que l’on fait la meilleure soupe.**

 

There’s a dark part to her life as well. Her dissolute life caused her first son to commit suicide. She took care of him and invited him to spend a lot of time in her house outside Paris but she never told him that she was her mother—when he turned 19, he fell in love with her, and tried to kiss her. She had no choice but to tell him the truth. “He went straight to the nearby wood, and killed himself with his sword,” Bret writes. Two men later claimed to be the father of Ninon’s next son. “After several years of dispute,” Bret resumes, “they played dice to decide who was the father. The Count d’Estrées won.” Place you bets!

 

This rambling portrait is made of various anecdotes, souvenirs, odes and descriptions—it is very entertaining. We learn that Ninon didn’t like men with big hands or a big belly. “She thought it was hideous.” She also thought that wrinkles would have been more convenient should they be located on our heels rather than on our faces, etc. The book closes on a collection of letters she wrote to St. Evremond, “who never was her lover”. As Feller puts it, “they are some sort of notes written without pretension.” As a matter of fact, the forged letters later published by Crébillon Fils are far more interesting. Sometimes, fiction is stronger than truth. And in Ninon’s life, this is rare enough to be mentioned.

 

 

T.E

 

* The first edition came out the same year in Amsterdam (Rollin Fils and Bauche Fils). Our edition is a pirate one that came out in Rotterdam. It is a small in-12 volume (title page, 1 page, 212 pages).

 

** Editors note: In English. “the best soup is made in old pots.”


Posted On: 2020-12-01 05:09
User Name: mairin

Interesting and enjoyable information, Thibault. Ninon de Lenclos is an attractive subject, am inspired to know more, especially any London connections (e.g., women at the Stuart court and English women writers of her time). The Wikipedia page on Ninon is quite detailed, hoping you'll supply some edits & updates. I'll look for Ninon in my copies of Gramont's memoirs, also d'Aulnoy's. Her role as a patroness, another angle to investigate. Thank you for introducing many of us to Ninon, and for including the handsome portrait (an engraved frontis., evidently).
- Maureen E. Mulvihill, Collector & RBH Guest Writer.


Posted On: 2020-12-02 06:35
User Name: EHRENGARDT

Thanks for your kind words and your remarks, Maureen. There's indeed much more than this article about Ninon de Lenclos, whose life keeps on fascinating a lot of people today! Your links are very interesting.
T. Ehrengardt


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Doyle<br>The Collection of a New York Surveyor<br>December 16, 2022</b>
    <b>Doyle, The Collection of a New York Surveyor:</b> Lot 3. Francis M. Maerschalk. Manuscript plan of Philip Minthorne's land in Bowery 3. $2,000-3,000
    <b>Doyle, The Collection of a New York Surveyor:</b> Lot 30. William Bridges. A Map of a Block of Ground situate in Water Street between Walnut and Fir Streets. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, The Collection of a New York Surveyor:</b> Lot 4. Francis M. Maerschalk. M. Barrack Street/Road from Spring Garden to Fresh Water. $5,000-8,000
    <b>Doyle, The Collection of a New York Surveyor:</b> Lot 46. Love Lane. Map of Land and Buildings the property of Samuel I Tobias Esqr. $2,000-3,000
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>December 16, 2022</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 157. Stephen King. <i>Christine.</i> New York: Viking Press, 1983. First trade edition, inscribed by the author. $1,500-2,500
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 163. Charles Lindbergh. “We.” New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1927. First edition, Author’s Autograph Edition. $1,000-1,500
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 177. A.A. Milne. <i>Winnie-the-Pooh.</i> London: Methuen, 1926. First English trade edition, first impression. $1,000-1,500
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 196. William Shakespeare. <i>Othello, the Moor of Venice.</i> London: printed for W. Weak, 1681. $4,000-6,000
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 203. John Steinbeck. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York: Viking, 1939. First edition. $1,000-1,500
  • <b>ALDE, Dec. 20:</b> VOLTAIRE. Œuvres complètes. [Kehl], Société littéraire et typographique, 1784-1789. 70 vol. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>ALDE, Dec. 20:</b> <i>ENCYCLOPÉDIE MÉTHODIQUE…</i> Paris, Panckoucke ; Liège, Plompteux, 1782-1832. 254 volumes in-4. €10,000 to €12,000.
    <b>ALDE, Dec. 20:</b> RUYSCH (FREDERIK). <i>Thesaurus anatomicus primus [–decimus]. Het eerste [–tiende] anatomisch cabinet.</i> Amsterdam, 1701-1716. €10,000 to €12,000.
    <b>ALDE, Dec. 20:</b> [MARCELLO (CRISTOFORO)]. <i>Sacrarum cæremoniarum sive rituum ecclesiasticorum S. Rom. Ecclesiæ libri tres.</i> Venise, Giunta, 1582. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>ALDE, Dec. 20:</b> [RABEL (DANIEL)]. <i>Theatrum Floræ, in quo ex toto orbe selecti mirabiles, venustiores, ac præcipui flores, tanquam ab ipsius deæ sinu proferuntur.</i> Paris, Pierre Firens, 1627. €3,000 to €4,000.
    <b>ALDE, Dec. 20:</b> VALERIANO (PIEIRIO). <i>[Hieroglyphica, sive de sacris Ægyptiorum aliarumque gentium literis, commentariorum libri LVIII]…</i> Francfort, 1613-[1614]. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>ALDE, Dec. 20:</b> BRUN (CLAUDE). [Cours manuscrit de Jérôme Dandini sur la Physique d'Aristote et disputes philosophiques des étudiants du collège jésuite de Bourges]. Conclusiones physic… 1579-1580. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>ALDE, Dec. 20:</b> CLERISSEAU (CHARLES-LOUIS). <i>Antiquités de la France. Première partie.</i> [Monuments de Nismes]. Paris, 1778. €1,000 to €1,200.
    <b>ALDE, Dec. 20:</b> LE FÈVRE (L.-C.). <i>Grand escalier du château de Versailles, dit escalier des ambassadeurs, ordonné et peint par Charles Le Brun.</i> Paris, s.d. €800 to €1,000.
  • <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>December 14, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Long ALS to Ronaldson "I consider Bonaparte as fighting our battles, and there I wish him success...” $35,000 to $45,000.
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> G.A. Custer. PSA Mint 9 Brady CDV Signed with Rank, Best Signature/Pose We Have Ever Seen. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> B. Franklin. 1733 Signed Philadelphia Partial Land Grant Dated Less Than 6 Months After Launch of "Poor Richard's Almanack". $12,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>December 14, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> Abraham Lincoln On Executive Mansion Stationery Replies to An Autograph Request! Fantastic Example. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> G. Washington. Free Frank to Maj. Tallmadge Re: Culper Courier. $12,000 to $14,000.
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> Albert Einstein ALS, “I am happy to see that a Jew is always 'en famille' wherever his steps lead him on this earth.” $5,000 to $6,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>December 14, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> Incredible Utah 1857 Mormon War Period Ft. Bridger Ledger: Afr. American Content, Mention of Armstead, Bernard Bee, RE Lee’s Son, 120pp! $10,000 to $12,000.
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> Apollo XI. PSA Mint +9.5 Insurance Cover Signed by Armstrong, Aldrin & Collins, From Buzz Aldrin Family Space Collection. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> Booker T. Washington, 17 Pages "Proud of Race...In & out of slavery...It is said that the strongest chain is no stronger than its weakest link." Handwritten Speech Notes. $8,000 to $9,000.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>December 14, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> R. Wallenberg. Signed Schutz-Pass Doc, With Rare Full Signature. $7,000 to $8,000.
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> Freud & Jung Together, Most Famous Photo in Psychology History! September 1911, Weimar, Germany. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b>University Archives, Dec. 14:</b> JFK Oversized Photo with Jackie & Caroline, Signed and Inscribed, Stunning! $3,500 to $4,500.
  • <b><center>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>December 14-15, 2022</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 14-15:</b> Two first editions by Adrian Spigelius in a Sammelband: <i>De humani corporis fabrica</i> from 1627 and <i>De formato foetu</i> from 1626. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 14-15:</b> Splendid coloured copy by Frederick De Wit, <i>Atlas maior,</i> Amsterdam, 1705. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 14-15:</b> First edition by Marco Ricci, <i>Varia Marci Ricci Pictoris prestantissimi Experimenta,</i> Venice, Orsolini, 1723-1730. €20,000 to €25,000.
    <b><center>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>December 14-15, 2022</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 14-15:</b> First edition by MicheleMarieschi, <i>Magnificentiores selectioresque Urbis Venetiarum prospectus,</i> Venice, 1741. €30,000 to €40,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 14-15:</b> Magnificent album by Louis-Leopold Boilly, Collection de dessins, calques et acquerelles, 1822. €20,000 to €25,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 14-15:</b> Rare musical score by Gioachino Rossini from 1858. €6,500 to €7,500.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books<br> December 8, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann December 8:</b> Friedrich Justin Bertuch, <i>Bilderbuch für Kinder,</i> Weimar, 1792, 1798, 1802, 1805, 1822. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann December 8:</b> Sebastian Münster, <i>Novae Insulae XXVI Nova Tabula,</i> Basel, 1552. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann December 8:</b> Sebastian Münster & Hans Holbein, <i>Typus Cosmographicus Universales,</i> Basel, 1532. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann December 8:</b> Franz Unger, <i>Die Urwelt in Ihren Verschiedenen Bildungsperioden,</i> 16 tinted lithographed plates, Weigel, 1858. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann December 8:</b> Charles Varle, Wiliam Warner & Andrew Hanna, <i>Plan of the City of Environs of Baltimore,</i> Baltimore, 1801. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <center><b>19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop<br>Catalogue 195<br>Magnificent Books & Manuscripts<br>Free on request</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop, Catalogue 195:</b> Benjamin Franklin on Electricity. Inscribed presentation copy.
    <b>19th Century Shop, Catalogue 195:</b> Frederick Douglass. Letter on civil war and the end of slavery.
    <b>19th Century Shop, Catalogue 195:</b> Carleton Watkins. A major American West photo album.
    <b>19th Century Shop, Catalogue 195:</b> Einstein. General Theory of Relativity inscribed by Einstein.
    <b>19th Century Shop, Catalogue 195:</b> The Federalist. Rare deluxe thick-paper copy.
    <b>19th Century Shop, Catalogue 195:</b> Emma Johnston. Archive of 350 salt prints by a Victorian female photographer.

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