[Book List]  

PLEASE NOTE: All bidding for the auction currently underway
at our new website at www.virtualjudaica.com/

Bidding Information
Lot #    8464
Auction End Date    10/19/2004 1:51:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Lettres juives ou Correspondance philosophique
Author    Jean-Baptiste de Boyer Argens
City    Lausanne
Publisher    M.M. Bousquet
Publication Date    1738
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Seven volumes, 165:102 mm., crisp copy, usual light age staining, title pages in red and black with title vignettes, sprinkled edges. A near fine copy bound in contemporary half leather and marbled paper boards, spine labels in red and green morocco.
   The Marquis d'Argens spent his early years in the army, but after receiving a wound in the Philipsbourg campaign, he settled in Holland and decided to pursue a literary career, of which the Lettres juives was the first substantial manifestation. Choosing for a model the Lettres persanes of Montesquieu, and adopting the guise of a Jewish observer, writing to two Jewish friends, he set out to describe and satirize the customs and institutions of contemporary European society; in doing so he was also much influenced by the writings of Voltaire and Bayle, especially the former's Lettres philosophiques. The scheme devised by d'Argens was not without its perils, and to avoid the scrutiny of both his family and his enemies, he moved from place to place within Holland, living successively in Amsterdam, the Hague, Utrecht, and Maarssen. He did not deal directly with the publisher Paupie, but submitted his numbers through an intermediary Prosper Marchand, who provided much criticism and advice to sharpen the satire. The Lettres juives were an immediate success, and were quickly pirated and imitated; an English translation ran serially in both the Gentleman's Magazine and Fog's Weekly Journal, before appearing in book form in 1739 as The Jewish Spy. There were a fair number of reprints over the next forty years, but in these the text has been significantly revised. In the 1750's the writings of d'Argens were widely cited by the philosophers in their battle against "infamy," and Voltaire remained a particular admirer, referring to these letters at one point as "ces verités courageuses."

t.p.: Lettres juives ou Correspondance philosophique, historique et critique entre un juif voyageur et ses correspondans en divers endroits...

   Barbier, A.A. Ouvrages anonymes, v. 2, column 1279
Associated Images
No images are associated with this listing
Listing Classification
18th Century:    Checked
France:    Checked
History:    Checked
Language:    French
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica