Les Parisiennes, ou XL Caractères generaux pris dans les moeurs actuelles propres à servir à l’instruction des personnes-du-sexe: tirés des Memoires de Nouveau Licée-des-moeurs. Tome I-[IV]

Autore RESTIF DE LA BRETONNE, Nicolas-Edme (1734-1806).
Tipografo chés Guillot, libraire de Monsieur, rue S.-Jacques
Dati tipografici À Neufchâtel, et se trouve à Paris, 
Prezzo 1900.00
Les Parisiennes

THE COPY OF VICTOR MASSÉNA D'ESSLING

Four volumes, 12mo (177x100 mm). 300 pp. and 6 plates; 388 pp. and 4 plates; 392 pp. and 5 plates; 380, [4] pp. and 5 plates. Overall 20 engraved plates numbered I-XX. Collation: A14 B-M12 N4; A8 B-Q12 R6; A4 B-R12; A-Q12. Title pages within double typographical border. Early 20th-century cardboards covered with colored papers, gilt spine with lettering piece, upper edge gilt, marbled endleaves. Some light marginal foxing and staining. A very good copy. Uncut. With the last 2 leaves, often missing, contaning Contemporaines choisies pour le Lycée and Ouvrages du même Auteur. Provenance: on the front pastedown of all volumes engraved bookplate of Victor Masséna d'Essling (Victor Masséna, Duke of Rivoli and, since 1898, Prince d'Essling, was a French politician, bibliographer and book collector, the grandson of general André Masséna; his celebrated work Les livres à figures venitiens de la fin du XVe siècle et du commencement du XVIe, printed between 1907 and 1914, is still appreciated today).

FIRST EDITION of one of the most sought after works by the great French writer Nicolas-Edme Rétif, better known as Restif de la Bretonne. In it, the author gives the women of Paris advices on love, marriage and how to preserve the interest of their men, may they be their husbands, lovers, sons or grandsons. Every chapter presents a different type of woman (the shy, the angry, the modest, the impudent, the dominatrix, the crazy, the faithful, the unfaithful, the accomodating, etc.) or a woman at a different age and position (the mother, the grandmother, the yound girl to marry, etc.). The work was written in a very short time between December 1785 and June 1786. The edition is illustrated with 20 plates, unlike most of De la Bretonne's works which are not illustrated. The plates were mainly designed by Binet, but also by Richonne, Aze, and Berthet.

Restif de la Bretonne, the eighth son of a wealthy farmer from the Yonne, was destined to become a man of church, but his reputation as a womanizer forced him to give up to an ecclesiastical career and instead take up an activity in the publishing business. In 1751 he went to Auxerre, where he spent a few years as a printer apprentice. He later moved to Paris, where he led a very irregular and dissipated life. In 1767 he published his first major work, La Famille vertueuse, followed by Le Paysan perverti (1776), La vie de mon père (1779), Les Contemporaines (1780), La Paysanne pervertie (1784), Les Parisiennes (1787), and Ingénue Saxancourt (1789). Beside his writing activity, he never stopped working as a typographer at various printing shops, moving regularly to escape his creditors. Restif was famous for his licentious tales and for the description of various sexual perversions, in particular the love for female feet, which is now called ‘retifism' after him.

Rives Childs, Restif de la Bretonne, 302-303; Lacroix, Bibliographie et iconographie de tous les ouvrages de Restif de la Bretonne, 247-250; Cohen-De Ricci, Guide de l'amateur de livres à gravures du XVIIIe siècle, 879; Gay, III, 641; Cioranescu (XVIIIe siècle), 52697.

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