“This immortal work can be considered a blessing for humanity.”
A precious and very beautiful copy,
preserved in its contemporary red morocco
with the arms of Claude-Alexandre de Villeneuve,
comte de Vence (1703-1760).
Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe. Directions pour la conscience d’un roi, composées pour l’instruction de Louis de France, duc de Bourgogne.
La Haye, Jean Neaulme, 1747.
8vo [190 x 121 mm] of XVI pp., 1 frontispiece, 102 pp. et (1) l.
Red morocco, triple gilt fillets around the covers, arms stamped in gilt in center, ribbed spine decorated with gilt fleurons, gilt fillet on leading edges, inner gilt roll-stamp, gilt over marbled edges. Contemporary armorial binding.
Rare first edition of one of the fundamental texts of Fénélon’s political ideas written for the education of the Dauphin, his pupil.
Tchémerzine-Scheler, III, 234 ; Peignot, Livres interdits, 140.
The copy is consistent with the description given by L. Scheler in his annotations to Tchemerzine : “Saw an 8vo copy of XVI pp., 102 pp., et 1 l. of Warning from the bookseller, no errata, title in red and black with a small fleuron different from the one reproduced.”
This essay had previously been published in 1734 under the title “Examen de conscience pour un Roi”, and joined with the “Avantures de Télémaque”, and printed at 150 copies.
It provoked the fury of Louis XIV, was forbidden and almost all copies were removed.
It was not until 1747 that the text could be published again.
The text was not destined to be published but through the cunning of a manservant, a posthumous edition was authorized.
“The duke of Beauvillier, who was the governor of the duke of Burgundy, convinced the king to appoint Fenelon as tutor to the young prince who had too much time on his hands. His experience as an educator made him perfect for the job. Mme de Maintenon supported this decision and he was officially appointed between the 17th and 20th of August 1689. Later, Fénélon was also charged with the education of the Monseigneur’s two sons : Anjou (26 August 1690), Berry (29 August 1693), but these two were quite young and it is to the eldest that he gave the best of himself. The duke of Burgundy was difficult, prone to anger ; he was like a badly raised child, too cherished, too often left alone. Fénelon decided to proceed with kindness ; but he didn’t let him get away with anything. By appealing to the beauty and joy that comes with doing the right thing, he molded his character and made him “human, moderate, patient”. A meticulous pedagogue and a good psychologist, he also taught him literature, ancient and biblical history, the texts from the Fathers of the Church and authors of Ancient Greece and Rome. Some room was also left to politics ; it is for his pupil that he wrote Télémaque in 1693/1694. Through this education, Fénélon’s influence at the court never ceased to grow.”
“The book on the Directions de la conscience d’un roi, by M. Fénelon, is one of those rare works that are universally esteemed. Worthy of being sought-after by all kings, for whom it seemed to have been written, it is just as precious to the subjects, because the duties that Wisdom and Truth here prescribe are connected to the people’s happiness. This immortal work can be considered a blessing for humanity.” (Bookseller’s warning)
A very beautiful and precious copy, wide-margined, preserved in its contemporary red morocco binding with the arms of Claude-Alexandre de Villeneuve, comte de Vence (1703-1760).
Lieutenant in the French Guard, lieutenant-colonel of the royal Regiment of Corsica in 1739, brigadier in May 1745, marshall and lieutenant-general of the king’s armies, he was appointed commander of La Rochelle. (O. Hermal, Pl. 1648)
The first edition of this great text in contemporary armorial binding is very rare and sought-after.