Item #65592 Oeuvres. François RABELAIS.

The Nouvelle Edition of the Works of Rabelais

Oeuvres. de Maitre François Rabelais, avec des Remarques Historiques et Critiques de Mr. Le Duchat.

Amsterdam: Jean Frederic Bernard, 1741.

Nouvelle edition. Three quarto volumes (9 3/8 x 7 1/2 inches; 238 x 190 mm). [2, blank] [10, 4 of which are ads], [i]-xxxvi, [1]-526, [4, blank]; [2, blank], [6], xxxiv, [3]-383, [2, blank]; [8], [2, ads], [8. letter], 1-144, 147-218, [1]-150, [35, table], [3, blank] pp. Each volume with half-title. Volume I and II with engraved half-titles and volume II with engraved frontispiece. Volume III with engraved frontispiece. An additional seventeen engraved plates, four of which are folding. Three of the folding plates are engravings of Rabelais' residence and the other is a folding map. Complete with 21 engraved plates. Numerous other engraved initials, chapter titles and vignettes.

Contemporary tan polished calf. Triple gilt fillet borders. Edges and turn-ins tooled in gilt. Spines with red and brown morocco spine labels lettered in gilt. Spines stamped in gilt. All edges dyed red. Marbled endpapers. Previous owner's bookplate to front pastedown of each volume. Some old ink marginalia to final blanks of volumes I and II. Some faded ownership initials to title-pages. Some light and occasional foxing. Overall a very handsome set.

“Rabelais [1494?-ca. 1553] was held in high regard by his contemporaries as an eminent physician, as a pioneer of humanism, and as the author of an entertaining Book. It is in this last capacity that he is chiefly known to posterity. He published Pantagruel, the first installment of his great work, late in 1532 or in 1533; Gargantua in 1534; the Tiers Livre de Pantagruel in 1546; part of the Quart Livre in 1548 and the whole Book in 1552. The authenticity of the Fifth Book is questionable; it certainly contains work by other hands and was perhaps worked up from fragments and imperfect or rejected drafts left by Rabelais at his death...The work does not form a single artistic whole. Composed at intervals over twenty years, it varies greatly in character as the spirit moved the author or circumstances prompted; it is loosely held together by a thread of narrative and abounds in digressions. We have in the first two Books the fantastic tale of a family of giants, written (so Rabelais tells us) in moments of relaxation for the solace of the sick, though occasion is taken to expose the author’s views on education, the monks, and the theologians. In the Third Book the fantastic features are abandoned and we pass to a series of amusing and dramatic discussions of the questions of the day. The Fourth and Fifth Books take us on a voyage to Cathay and provide occasion for satire and propaganda suited to the political views of the French court. The interest of the whole lies in the vivid picture it gives not only of French society in the early days of the Renaissance but also of the Protean author himself: his enthusiastic humanism, his love of life in all its manifestations and hatred of asceticism, his interest in knowledge of all kinds, above all his contempt for monkery and scholasticism” (The Oxford Companion to French Literature).

HBS 65592.


Price: $3,500.00

Item #65592