A Catalogue from Four French Booksellers
Entre seine et Luxembourg.
By Michael Stillman
Parlez-vous francais? I don't, which makes reviewing this interesting new concept in catalogues very difficult. Four Parisian booksellers have joined together to publish a catalogue titled Entre Seine et Luxembourg. Such a joint effort is new to us, but unfortunately, this writer is not fluent in French. Therefore, I really cannot tell you very much about it.
From my limited high school French, I will translate the title to "Between the Seine and Luxembourg." The Seine, of course, is France's famed river, which runs through the heart of Paris. I'm not entirely sure why this title, which describes the northeast corner of France, but it may reflect the location of the four booksellers. Whatever the reason, the illustrations within the catalogue imply some very interesting material, but since most titles are French, and all descriptions are in French, I am lost to provide much help. However, for those who do speak the language, here are the four Parisian booksellers who form the publishing quartet: Thomas-Scheler, Pierre Saunier, Thierry Corcelle, and Lacointre-Drouet. You may want to contact one of them for a copy, or a better description than I can provide.
Fortunately, we also received a list of books offered at the recent ABAA book fair in California by Thomas-Scheler, which contains descriptions in English. Instead, I will describe a few of these items. However, these are not entirely similar. The items in this list tend to be at the very upper end of collecting, while items in the cooperative catalogue are at more modest pricing levels. Here are some samples of what Thomas-Scheler had to offer.
Item 10 is Procede pour ecrire les Paroles, la Musique et le Plaint-chant au moyen points...by Louis Braille. Even those who cannot read French will recognize that name. Louis Braille developed the system of raised symbols on paper that allow the blind to read by touch. Earlier raised symbol systems had been used, but these had been based on sounds. Braille was able to create an alphabet using half a dozen dots that allowed for true reading. This book, published in Paris in 1829, sets forth the principles of his system. It is the basis for Braille writing still used today. Priced at $80,000.
A Catalogue from Four French Booksellers
A 1900 voyage to the moon by de Ville D'Avray in Entre Seine.
Item 15 is one of the greatest rarities of Americana. The title is Les Voyages de la Nouvelle France Occidentale...by explorer Samuel de Champlain. This is the final collection of Champlain's travels published in 1632, and is considered the most important because it includes all nine of his voyages. While the French presence on the North American content was virtually eliminated by the French and Indian War in the days before the American Revolution, France was a major power on the continent during the 17th and first half of the 18th centuries. Much of Canada and inland areas of what is now the United States were under French control. The territory was known as New France at the time, and Champlain was out charting the area even before the first pilgrims began to arrive in Plymouth. His text includes several depictions of American Indians, and contains his 1629 map, which may be considered the first map to depict the Great Lakes as a network, including Lac St. Louis (now Ontario) and Grand Lac (Superior). The depiction of a church near the mouth of the "Riviere des trettes" (now the Hudson River) indicates a Dutch presence and may be the first placement on a map of what is now New York City. $300,000.
Item 37 is the 1726 edition of Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. It was the last published during his lifetime, and as such, it is the final presentation of his work that he left for future generations to study. This book is certainly a prime candidate for the most important scientific work ever created. $30,000.
Item 12 is one of the most popular psychiatric texts written. It is The Anatomy of Melancholy, what it is. With all kindes, causes, symptomes, prognostickes and severall cures of it, by Robert Burton. This is a 1621 first edition of a work so popular it has gone through at least 70 editions. Burton himself suffered from the "melancholy," or as we would say today, depression, and wrote this book as something of a curative. He found that keeping busy reduced the symptoms. Burton did not make any scientific breakthroughs. His work was mainly a compilation of every imaginable theory that preceded him, coupled with some physiology that is interesting, but incorrect. Nevertheless, this popular book brought issues that affect so many people to the forefront, and presumably helped many of his readers. $50,000.
Librairie Thomas-Scheler may be reached at email@example.com or +33 1 43 26 97 69.