"UNFORTUNATELY, THE VICES OF THE PERSONAGES INTRODUCED ARE DEPICTED WITH SUCH FIDELITY THAT WE ARE PERPETUALLY DISGUSTED BY THE OBSCENITY OF THE DESCRIPTIONS"- SPLENDID 1694 FIRST EDITION IN FRENCH OF PETRONIUS' SATYRICON, FINELY BOUND IN FULL MOROCCO-GILT FOR THE COMTESSE DE VERRUE WITH HER ARMS AS GILT CENTERPIECES—THE VERRUE-DE BURE-HOE COPY
PETRONIUS ARBITER, Titus. Traduction Entière de Petrone, Suivant le Nouveau Manuscrit Trouvé à Bellegrade en 1688. Cologne: Pierre Groth, 1694. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary full crimson morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, covers with arms of the Comtesse de Verrue stamped in gilt as centerpieces, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $8800.
First edition in French (with the original Latin on facing pages) of of Petronius' Satyricon, illustrated with 9 copper-engraved plates, bound in contemporary French morocco-gilt for Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert de Luynes, the Comtesse de Verrue (1670-1736)—one of the greatest bibliophiles of her time—with her coat-of-arms as gilt centerpieces on all four covers. Also from the renowned De Bure and Hoe collections, with Jean Jacques de Bure's ownership signature and Robert Hoe's morocco bookplate.
The Satyricon was composed in Latin in the first century A.D. Classical scholars often describe it as a "Roman novel," without necessarily implying continuity with the modern novel. (It is one of the two most extensive examples of the Roman novel, the other being the fully extant Metamorphoses of Apuleius.) The Satyricon has also served as a reliable source for the reconstruction of lower-class life during the early Roman Empire; Petronius' characters, most of them laypeople, talk about the theatre of ancient Rome, the amphitheater, and the circus. "The adventures of a certain Encolpius and his companions in the south of Italy, chiefly in Puteoli or its environs, are made a vehicle for exposing the false taste and vices of the age. Unfortunately the vices of the personages introduced are depicted with such fidelity that we are perpetually disgusted by the obscenity of the descriptions" (Peck, 1220).
While the text is interrupted by frequent gaps, 141 sections of consecutive narrative have been preserved. It is speculated that the original composition was approximately 1000 pages. The "fragments" filling in the lacunae that were reportedly found at Belgrade and printed in the present edition are actually a forgery by François Nodot (1650-1710). Though the forgery was soon suspected, texts and translation of the Satyricon continued to incorporate Nodot's supplements until the early 20th century. Text in Latin and French on facing pages. Brunet IV, 576. Hoe Catalogue (1912), Part II, lot 2670 (this item).
These volumes were bound for Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert de Luynes, Comtesse de Verrue (1670-1736), French noblewoman and one of the greatest bibliophiles of her time. At the time of her death, she possessed around 18,000 volumes, kept in Paris and her house at Meudon; this vast private library was dispersed in 1737. A great letter writer, Jeanne Baptiste was interested in art, science, literature and philosophy, kept in contact with the budding Voltaire and other philosophers, and maintained her own salon in Paris.
Morocco-gilt bookplate of renowned bibliophile Robert Hoe, a co-founder and the first president of the prestigious Grolier Club. Mr. Hoe was "one of the best-known and most ardent of book collectors, and owner, during his lifetime, of one the most famous private library in this country… in his passing [in 1909] America lost one of her greatest bibliophiles" (Transactions of the Grolier Club IV:12). Ownership signature and annotation of Jean Jacques de Bure: the de Bure family were book collectors, booksellers, auctioneers, and all around bibliophiles for some 200 years; when Jean Jacques de Bure died in 1853, the library that many generations of the family had assembled was dispersed at auction. Engraved armorial bookplate of Jean-Baptiste de l'Ecuy, Abbot of Prémontré (1740-1834), the last abbot general of the Prémontré order before the Revolution.
Light rubbing to joints, shallow wear to spine head of Volume I. Morocco clean and fine, gilt bright. A superb copy splendidly bound for royalty with impeccable provenance.