Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2018 Issue

Travels Featured in Jean-Francois Letenneur Rare Books' New York Fair Catalogue

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A catalogue for the New York Fair.

Jean-Francois Letenneur Livres Rares (rare books) printed a catalogue for the recent 58th New York Antiquarian Book Fair. As one might guess from their name, Letenneur is a French bookseller, located along the northwestern coast of Brittany, specifically, in Saint Briac-sur-Mer. Most of the material they offer is in the French language, with a smattering of other European tongues, English included. Nevertheless, there is much that will be of interest to collectors who focus on America. Letenneur specializes in travels, particularly the ocean-going sort which are primarily older books. This includes naval voyages along with charts, maps and atlases to help you find your way. French travel history is intimately tied to North America, ranging from early explorations of the continent to close allies during America's war of independence. Of course, there are also plenty of books for those whose focus remains in Europe, or on voyages to other parts of the world. Here are a few of these items, most of which are very old.

 

Writing an encyclopedia is a great enough challenge on its own, but how about writing one as a poem? That is what Gautier de Metz, a French priest, managed to accomplish. Of course, there wasn't quite as much knowledge to cover when he wrote it around 1246. Still, Gautier covers a lot of ground, his work being part fact, part fiction, though it is unlikely Gautier knew that dividing line in 1246. It ranges from creation and theology to the nature of the earth, cosmology, physics, all sorts of things, much borrowed from earlier authors (who can be blamed for many of Gautier's errors). He writes about the sky and the ether, how enormous it all is, and meteorological phenomena. Gautier gets particularly off track from reality with monsters in far off parts of the world, but people were still imagining such creatures several centuries later when they had better access to information than Gautier possessed. He does get it right about the earth being round, and is close when he says we don't fall off as we are held to the surface by magnetism. Item 14 is the only known copy of this French edition of Image du Monde, circa 1520-1530. It has a most interesting provenance. It once belonged to Ferdinand Columbus, Christopher's son. His father left him a healthy inheritance, including hundreds of slaves in the New World. Ferdinand compiled an enormous library for his time (even for ours), with over 15,000 books. He left it to a cathedral in Seville, but it was not well-maintained. An inventory in 1684 showed they only retained 5,000 of Columbus' books and that is now down to 2,000. Price on request.

 

Here is another early book related to Columbus. The title is Nova typis transacta navigatio novi orbis Indiae occidentalis... The author was the Benedictine Caspar Plautius, one of about a dozen missionaries from his order who accompanied Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. Though that occurred in 1493, this first edition (second issue) was not published until 1621. It was meant as something of a Catholic answer to the New World descriptions of the Protestant de Bry. The work combines some good information about plants and dress of the natives with claims as fanciful as those of Gautier. One of the images depicts St. Brendan celebrating mass on the back of a whale, an event we can safely say did not happen. Another has Indians riding a large sea creature. Others display a contempt for the native religions, showing Indians practicing cannibalism, and priests being martyred. It is not hard to see why so much cruelty was practiced on the natives when even the European religious figures viewed them so savagely. Plautius has generously dedicated this book to... himself! Item 24. $18,340.

 

There is nothing like a good friend when you're young, and France was such a friend to the Americans after they declared their independence. Of course, the French had some of their own reasons for this support. Item 1 consists of two unsigned manuscript memos written in 1777. A marginal note says "D'invault," possibly tracing this to Etienne Maynon d'Invault, Controller General for Louis XV. The writer expresses reasons why France should join the war on the American side. These are primarily for France's own economic self-interest, the memo encouraging France to become America's first economic ally before the British reach a peace with them and take over that role. It is likely that these memos were produced for the King or a member of his cabinet. $4,280.

 

Item 38 is a personal photo album documenting a trip to Egypt in 1892 by Count Helie de Durfort. It contains 100 photographs and one panorama. Forty-five of the photographs were taken by the Zangaki Brothers and Antonio Beato, who specialized in selling photos to Egyptian travelers. The other 55 were taken by the Count himself. De Durfort was a captain in the cavalry along with being an amateur photographer. He went to Cairo, traveled up the Nile, and saw many of the notable sights. There are views of such obvious sights as the pyramids, sphinx, cities, and river. Then, there are also pictures of ordinary people, boys washing clothes, girls carrying water, rowers along the Nile, and other scenes such as camels, oxen, streets, and the desert railway. The album has been titled on the cover, Egypt Le Caire Le Nile Fevrier 1892. $6,720.

 

This next book is from the Marquis de Sade, whose name evokes images of the worst sort, but this isn't the de Sade with whom most are familiar. This is not a tame novel, but it isn't like that one either. The title is, Aline et Valcour, ou le Roman Philosophique. Écrit à la Bastille un an avant la Révolution de France. That translates to Aline and Valcour, or the philosophical novel. Written in the Bastille before the revolution in France." De Sade spent much of his life in and out of prison. This novel was written while he was in the Bastille from 1785-1788. He emerged, and was close to having it published when he and his publisher, in the midst of the Reign of Terror, were carted off to prison again. De Sade survived; his publisher was guillotined. Finally, in 1795, the book was published by the original publisher's widow. This story, told through letters, concerns the young lovers of the title, Aline's sympathetic and virtuous mother, and her cruel and materialistic father. The differences are also seen in two kingdoms described, one in Africa, brutal, cannibalistic, and everything else terrible, the other a paradise in the South Pacific ruled by a philosopher-king. Item 95. $14,000.

 

Jean-Francois Letenneur Livres Rares may be reached at 33 (0) 299 88 92 44 or librairie@jfletenneurlivresrares.fr. Their website is www.jfletenneurlivresrares.fr.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €
  • <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Harriet Tubman Cabinet Card by H.S. Squyer, Auburn, NY, 1892. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Scarce <i>Events of the Tulsa Disaster,</i> First Edition, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> California Imprint of <i>President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation</i> Broadside, 1864. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,</i> 2nd Cookbook Published by African American. $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Frederick Douglass Walking Stick, 1888. $3,000 to $5,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Only Known Slave Narrative Published Independently in California, <i>Life and Adventures of James Williams.</i> $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare First Edition of History of Black Literature, Abbé Grégoire <i>De La Littérature des Nègres</i>. $2,500 to $3,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> African American Soldier and Medal of Honor Winner Christian A. Fleetwood CDV, PLUS. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries Pennant, 1910 Reno, Nevada. $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Joe Gans Photograph at 1906 Goldfield, Nevada Fight by Percy Dana. $600 to $800
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Sense and Sensibility: A Novel, By a Lady,</i> 3 volumes, London, 1811. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Kew Gardens,</i> limited edition, signed by Woolf & Bell, London, 1927. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> <i>[Arabian Nights],</i> Calcutta II version, 4 volumes, Calcutta & London, 1839-1842. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 ALS to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor, anticipating Christie’s sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Emma,</i> first edition, London, 1816. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Hirohito & Nagako, Emperor & Empress of Japan, 2 photographs signed, showing Nagako in kimono & obi bearing the imperial seal. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 autograph letters signed to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor Elizabeth Tilberis, anticipating Christie’s announcement of a sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Sarojini Naidu, complete galley proof of <i>The Broken Wing</i> signed with several holograph pages & an autograph letter signed to writer Edmund Gosse, 1916. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Fernando Pessoa, <i>Mensagem,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, Lisbon, 1934. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Graham Greene, <i>The Basement Room,</i> first edition, Greene’s personal copy, signed with annotations throughout, London, 1935. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Abraham Lincoln, partly-printed document signed, call for troops issued during America’s first national draft just days before the NYC draft riots, 1863. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b><br><i>Les Chansons de Bilitis</i> by Pierre Louÿs, illustrated by George Barbier & F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1922. $8,000 to $12,000.

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