Sims Reed Rare Books×

Le Moine, Traduit de l'Anglais. Tome Premier - Tome Quatrième

Lewis, Matthew 'Monk'

Paris. Chez Maradan. 1797. an v
Eugène de Beauharnais' copy of the first French edition of 'Monk' Lewis' notorious Gothic novel.

First published anonymously in English in 1796 by the precocious Matthew Lewis (later referred to as 'Monk' Lewis), 'The Monk' with its lurid scenes of witchcraft, diabolism, rape, seduction, transvestism, sacrilege, murder, blasphemy and incest, was an instant best-selling success. A second edition followed later in 1796 with Lewis, now an M. P., acknowledging his authorship but the critical tide had by then turned and to spare the feelings of his family Lewis censored his own text.

Maradan issued this early translation in the year following the English first edition in two distinct formats, four illustrated volumes in 16mo. and three unillustrated volumes in 12mo., as was his convention. Research has suggested that the three volume edition was issued first (as per Oberlé in his 1972 catalogue 'De Horace Walpole ... à Jean Ray') but we can find no evidence for this assertion. Further it appears that copies of the three volume 12mo. edition exist with illustration although they are very uncommon: this accords with the illustrations themselves, a frontispiece with caption to each of the four volumes, as the plates feature the relevant pagination for both formats. Whatever the priority of the two issues, both formats are scarce, with the majority of institutional copies in France. The translation, although uncredited, was by J. M Deschamps, J. B. D. Desprès, P. V. Benoist and P. B. de Lamare.

[see no. 22 in Gerard Oberlé's 'De Horace Walpole ... à Jean Ray', 1972].
pp. (i), 182; (i), 185; (i), 168; (i), 188. 4 vols. 16mo. (136 x 88 mm). Each vol. with half-title (that for vol. I with 'Avis de l'Auteur Anglais' verso), engraved frontispiece with quotation from the text beneath, printed title and Lewis' text in French. Contemporary calf-backed marbled boards, spines ruled in gilt with decorative tools and morocco title labels, boards with Eugène de Beauharnais' crowned initials, marbled endpapers, all edges red.

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