La guerre des masles contre les femelles

Paris, chez Gilles Robinot, 1614.

£4950

12mo. ff. [viii] 143 [i]. ã8, A-Z8-4, Aa-Bb4. Roman letter, some Italic, small typographical ornament on title, woodcut initials, typographical and woodcut head and tail-pieces, book-label of Adlphe Audenet on fly, those of Charles Nodier, Robert Hoe and of Courtlandt Bishop on pastedown. Light age yellowing, a fine copy in early C19th French straight grained morocco gilt, covers bordered with a double gilt ruled panel, filled with a fine floral scroll, fleurons gilt to corners, monogram of Adolphe Audenet within shield gilt at centres, spine with gilt ruled raised bands with small fleurons gilt to centres, gilt ruled edges, inner dentelles gilt, marbled paper endpapers, vellum end-leaves, all edges gilt.

Exceptionally rare second edition of this most interesting work by the lawyer Jean Dagoneau; a very fine copy, beautifully bound, with exceptional provenance. Both Gay (citing this copy) and Tchemerzine point out the existence of this second edition but give no further bibliographical details We have found no other copy of this edition on worldcat. It is identical to the first edition of 1588 apart from the title page and could very well be a reuse of the sheets of the first edition with a new t-p. (the paper of the title does not match the rest of the work) confirmed by the retention of the privilege of the first edition dated 1587 (which was valid for six years).

Choliere’s work takes the form of a dialogue in which both both sides argue the case for and against the cause of women versus men. “When Montaigne was writing his Essays in the 1580’s, the Lawyer Jean Dagoneau published a series of dialogues …Choliere’s broached many thorny questions of law, such as the problem of second marriages, by presenting both sides of the argument. In renaissance paradoxes and dialogues each participant argued from the opposite sides – argumentum in utramque partem – and while no party had a monopoly of the truth, each participant’s speech suggested an element of truth.” The work is preceded by two sonnets, one dedicated to women and the other to men, in which the author encourages women to read to the end of the work ‘puis vous serez contentes’.

The work has wonderful provenance; first that of Adolphe Audenet whose collection of rare books was sold in 1839 -40. The catalogue of his sale was the first in France to illustrate the bindings of several precious works. It then passed into the extraordinary library of the author, librarian and renowned bibliophile Charles Nodier. Nodier was an influential French author and librarian who introduced through his many novellas a younger generation of Romanticists to the ‘conte fantastique’, gothic literature, and vampire tales. His dream related writings were also hugely influential. His library was sold in 1844 after his death. It then passed successively into the very rich collections of Robert Hoe and Courtlandt Bishop.

Gay II 441 “Cet ouvrage est le plus rare et peut-etre le meilleur de tous ceux qu’a produits Cholieres. .. On y vois que Cholieres était toujours amoureux, et qu’il était quelquefois poete assez .. supportable.”. Brunet I 1849. “L’édition de Paris, Gilles Robinot, 1614, pet. in 12, ayant a la fin un privilege daté de 1587, est peut-etre bien la même que celle de 1588, avec un nouv. titre” citing this copy. Not in Erdmann.

L2172

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