• <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Bibliotheca Brookeriana: A Renaissance Library<br>Magnificent Books and Bindings<br>11 October 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Francesco Colonna, Hypnerotomachie, Paris, 1546, Parisian calf by Wotton Binder C for Marcus Fugger. $300,000 to $400,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Leonardo da Vinci, Trattato della pittura, manuscript on paper, [Rome, ca. 1638–1641], a very fine pre-publication manuscript. $250,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Paradis, Ung petit traicte de Alkimie, [Paris, before 1540], contemporary morocco by the Pecking Crow binder for Anne de Montmorency. $300,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Capocaccia, Giovanni Battista, A wax relief portrait of Pius V, in a red morocco book-form box by the Vatican bindery, Rome, 1566–1568. $250,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Serlio, Il terzo libro; Regole generali, Venice, 1540, both printed on blue paper and bound together by the Cupid's Bow Binder. $400,000 to $500,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Tiraboschi, Carmina, manuscript on vellum, [Padua, c. 1471], the earliest surviving plaquette binding. $280,000 to $350,000.
    <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Bibliotheca Brookeriana: A Renaissance Library<br>The Aldine Collection A–C<br>12 October 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Anthologia graeca, Venice, Aldus, 1503, printed on vellum, Masterman Sykes-Syston Park copy. $150,000 to $200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Castiglione, Il libro del cortegiano, Venice, Aldus, 1528, contemporary Italian morocco gilt, Accolti-Landau copy. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Castiglione, Il libro del cortegiano, Venice, Aldus, 1545, contemporary morocco for Thomas Mahieu, Chatsworth copy. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Cicero, Epistolae familiares, Venice, Aldus, 1502, printed on vellum, illuminated, Renouard-Vernon-Uzielli copy. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Colonna, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, Venice, Aldus, 1499, Gomar Estienne binding for Jean Grolier, Spencer copy. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Crinito, Libri de poetis Latinis, Florence, Giunta, 1505, Cupid's Bow Binder for Grolier, Paris d'Illins-Wodhull copy. $250,000 to $300,000.
  • <center><b>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Nobu Shirase and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition: the Collection of Chet Ross<br>October 12, 2023</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> [BYRD]. VEER, Willard Van der and Joseph T. RUCKER, cinematographers. The 35mm motion picture Akeley camera that filmed the Academy Award-winning documentary “With Byrd at the South Pole”. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> [SHIRASE, Nobu, his copy]. RYUKEI, Yano. <i>Young Politicians of Thebes: Illustrious Tales of Statesmanship.</i> Tokyo(?), 1881-84. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> SHACKLETON, Ernest H. <i>The Antarctic Book.</i> Winter Quarters 1907-1909 [dummy copy of the supplement to: <i>The Heart of the Antarctic</i>]. London, 1909. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> [USS BEAR]. The original auxiliary deck wheel from the famed USS Bear, 1874-1933. “PROBABLY THE MOST FAMOUS SHIP IN THE HISTORY OF THE COAST GUARD” (USCG). $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> HENSON, Matthew. <i>A Negro Explorer at the North Pole.</i> With a forward by Robert Peary. Introduction by Booker T. Washington. New York, [1912]. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli: Auction 46 Books<br>Autographs & Manuscripts<br>Oct 3rd-5th 2023</b>
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Tilson - Zanotto, Il vero tema. 2011. Starting price 150 €
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Munari, Storia di un filo. Starting price 400 €
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Debord, Contre le cinéma. 1964. Starting price 150 €
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Futurism books and ephemera
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Travel books
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Medicine books
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Levaillant, Histoire naturelle des perroquets. 1801-1805. Starting price 52.000 €
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Carrera, Il gioco de gli scacchi. 1617. Starting price 3200 €
    <b>Gonnelli:</b> Vergilius, Opera. 1515. Starting price 800 €
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Monroe Schulz, <i>The Peanuts gang,</i> complete set of 13 drawings, ink, 1971. Sold June 15 — $50,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Family Archive of Photographs & Letters. Sold June 1 — $60,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Victor H. Green, <i>The Negro Motorist Green Book,</i> New York, 1949. Sold March 30 — $50,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>King Lear; Othello;</i> [and] <i>Anthony & Cleopatra;</i> Extracted from the First Folio, London, 1623. Sold May 4— $185,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> William Samuel Schwartz, <i>A Bridge in Baraboo, Wisconsin,</i> oil on canvas, circa 1938. Sold February 16 — $32,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Lena Scott Harris, <i>Group of approximately 65 hand-colored botanical studies, all apparently California native plants,</i> hand-colored silver prints, circa 1930s. Sold February 23 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Suzanne Jackson, <i>Always Something To Look For,</i> acrylic & pencil on linen canvas, circa 1974. Sold April 6 — $87,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk von Gustav Klimt,</i> complete with 50 printed collotype plates, Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold June 15 — $68,750.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2021 Issue

Joubert de la Rue, A Savage Satire of French Society


In the wake of Montesquieu’s Lettres Persanes (1721), fake epistolary works from alleged travellers became a sure way to draw a satirical portrait of society. Thus, while pretending to be an American ‘savage’ passing through France, François Joubert de la Rue (1695- circa 1757) was actually a French protestant in exile. And he wrote some letters to a fictitious friend in America that were soon compiled into a book, Lettres d’un Sauvage Dépaysé (Amsterdam, 1740)*.


This a 2 in-18 volume-set book printed by Jean-François Jolly in Amsterdam in 1740 with an explicit subtitle: Containing A Critic of the Customs of the Time, and Some Reflexions over Political and Religious Matters. Those 30 letters originally came out separately between January and April 1738 under the title of Letters From A Homesick Savage To His Correspondent in America. Like most epistolary satires, this is a pleasant read—a good format, a smooth narrative and a variety of topics make it entertaining. Joubert apposes the “Savage Reason” to the “Civilized Reason” to cast a critical look at French society.


A Matter of Honour


Native Americans were considered as ‘Savages’ yet Joubert underlines that the “point d’honneur/matter of honour’ that ruled relationships in Europe sometimes bordered on savagery. A true gentleman couldn’t stand the slightest offense, be it ridiculous and coming from an uneducated fool. “If you ever come across a man who pretends he once saw a cauliflower big enough to feed an army of 100,000 men,” Joubert writes, “you must not deny the fact (...); or you’ll hurt his honour.” Or else, be ready to potentially die over the size of a cauliflower, because if you contradict him, he is then entitled to challenge you to a deadly duel—a radical way to reasonably settle a vegetable quarrel. “If you’re victorious, the crown of glory awaits you,” Joubert resumes.” But you have to run away first, or else you’re lost. Caught before receiving a “Letter From Grace”, you’d be hanged like a petty thief.” In Europe, being civilized could lead you straight to the gallows.




Native Americans didn’t know much about the art of war before the civilized Europeans came in. They were fighting with their hearts, but without discipline—most of the time, the Europeans defeated them quite easily because they knew about civilized war. In Letter XII, Joubert gives more details: “During the summer, the soldiers go to war. They then enjoy having their arms and legs broken, or they break others’. When it’s over, they go back home to enjoy winter pleasures—as most of them are bachelors, they use others’ wives and daughters to make more legs and arms than they have broken during the summer—thus nothing is lost. We saw them more than once comforting a crying mother who blamed them for the loss of her son—and then making her two kids at once, to compensate her.” Europeans had manners, and that makes a huge difference.




Of course, Joubert’s main target was Catholicism. As soon as Letter II, he tackles the Church. “To be happy, one must teach about what eyes can’t see, what ears can’t hear and what is not yet into the hearts of men. That’s how the servants of the wretch who died on a cross now stand in the very place of the Caesars.” Among the most crucial debates kindled by the discovery of America was the fact that the Bible doesn’t mention this continent or the ‘Savages’ who populated it. How come? Was the Bible fallible? That couldn’t be, unless “the God of Europe has so far created men in America with the sole purpose of plunging them into a bottomless pit of misery.” How could a ‘civilized God’ act so partially? “Because we deserve it,” Joubert states, “since a man ate an apple 5 or 6,000 years ago in Asia.” A Protestant, Joubert then laughs at one of the foundations of Catholicism, that is to say priestly celibacy: “The ‘Civilized Reason’, always fertile in extraordinary discoveries, found out that celibacy was saner than marriage, and that the Creator had made a gross error when he said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Joubert describes the sad condition of women who embrace religion—he compares them to the antique vestals, unable to drastically respect a vow that they only reluctantly took since, he adds, many “were forced to become religious in order to discharge their families.” And when the law of nature caught up on them, they “have to cover their horrid fault with horrid deeds—many small skeletons are found in the backyards of convents.” Savagery is never far.


Talking about Joubert’s book, Robert Granderoute also notes (Dictionnaire des Journalistes) “some virulent critics of Catholic dogmas (transubstantiation), institutions (from the papacy to the monasteries), practices and ceremonies, subtleties of the scholastic reason, violences against the heretics, or internal feuds (between the Jesuits and the Jansenists).” In France, L’Observateur Littéraire blamed Joubert’s work for its “furious attacks on religion; for a while, it was attributed to Marquis d’Argens, another satirical writer, who strongly denied it: “Only a fool, or someone trying to discredit me would dare attributing to me such a book,” he stated. The book sold well, and “eight years later, Joubert de La Rue came back to it, publishing his Letters From The Civilized Savage to Follow Up Those From the Homesick Savage,” the Dictionnaire des Journalistes reads. “They were announced on August 9, 1746 by the Amsterdam Gazette.” At the end of the first letter, we can read: “At Amsterdam, At Jean Joubert’s, bookseller in St Lucy-Steeg, 1746.” And above this inscription: “These letters shall be published every Thursday.” They were later compiled in a book as well, and this one seems to be rarer than the previous one.


Joubert’s letters enjoyed a small success, but are totally forgotten today—they sank into the shadow of Montesquieu’s Lettres Persanes. Yet, they offer another perspective on French society. That’s what satires are all about, to bring the masks down. They make you laugh to make the varnish layer crack; and then is revealed the true savage side of man—and this is always the same ugly face—yours and mine; and the place you live or the God that you pray to just make no difference.


* Lettres d’un Sauvage Dépaysé (Amsterdam, Chez Jean-François Joly). No date. No name. / 2 in-18° volumes: 1) Title-page, 205 pages. 2) Title-page, 220 pages. No illustration.


Posted On: 2021-03-05 08:59
User Name: 19531953

Very scholarly and lively review!
Eric C. Caren

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Case Auctions<br>Fall Fine Art & Antiques Auction<br>October 6-7, 2023</b>
    <b>Case Auctions, Oct. 7:</b> John Speed 1676 Map of Virginia, Maryland, and Chesapeake Bay. $1,000 to $1,200.
    <b>Case Auctions, Oct. 7:</b> Andrew Jackson Coffin Handbill and Political Cartoon. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Auctions, Oct. 7:</b> Three Andrew Jackson Bank War Cartoons, incl. Way to Arabay. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Auctions, Oct. 7:</b> Three Andrew Jackson period Political Cartoons inc. Petticoat Affair. $500 to $600.
    <b>Case Auctions, Oct. 7:</b> Cdre. Jesse D. Elliott ALS and Sarcophagus Print, Andrew Jackson & USS Constitution elated. $500 to $600.
    <b><center>Case Auctions<br>Fall Fine Art & Antiques Auction<br>October 6-7, 2023</b>
    <b>Case Auctions, Oct. 7:</b> Presidential Autographs & Portrait Prints incl. Eisenhower Photo, 18 items. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Auctions, Oct. 7:</b> Group of three Robert E. Lee Cabinet Card Photographs, Miley Studio. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Auctions, Oct. 7:</b> Eight Fugitive Writer related books incl. Andrew Lytle, R.P. Warren, J.C. Ransom, Allen Tate. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Auctions, Oct. 7:</b> Group Early Southern and Civil War Era Sheet Music. $300 to $350.
    <b>Case Auctions, Oct. 7:</b> Henry Miller, <i>Insomnia or the Devil at Large;</i> Signed; Loujon Press 1970. $500 to $600.
  • <b><center>Australian Book Auctions<br>Voyages, Natural History &c.<br>October 4, 2023<br>9:00 AM Australian Western Time</b>
    <b>Australian Book Auctions, Oct. 4:</b> PURCHAS, Samuel (circa 1577-1626). <i>HAKLUYTUS POSTHUMUS OR PURCHAS HIS PILGRIMES…,</i> London, 1625-1626. First edition. $40,000 to $60,000 AUD
    <b>Australian Book Auctions, Oct. 4:</b> GOULD, John. <i>THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA,</i> Volume IV. Folio, 104 fine handcoloured lithographed plates. London, 1848. $20,000 to $30,000 AUD
    <b>Australian Book Auctions, Oct. 4:</b> REICHENOW, Dr. Ant. <i>VOGELBILDER AUS FERNER ZONEN, abbildungen und beschreibungen der Papageien.</i> Kassel, 1878-1883. Folio, 33 hand-finished chromolithograph plates. $3,000 to $5,000 AUD
    <b>Australian Book Auctions, Oct. 4:</b> WALLIS, <i>E. WALLIS’S ELEGANT AND INSTRUCTIVE GAME exhibiting the Wonders of Nature, in Each Quarter of the World.</i> Handcoloured view, 26 numbered scenes. $400 to $600 AUD.
    <b>Australian Book Auctions, Oct. 4:</b> GREENAWAY, Kate. <i>ALMANACK FOR 1883</i> [and following years]. Twenty-two volumes, including six duplicates in variant bindings. $1,400 to $1,800 AUD.

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