Books from the European Enlightenment from Susanne Schulz-Falster Rare Books

- by Michael Stillman

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Books from the European Enlightenment from Susanne Schulz-Falster Rare Books

Susanne Schulz-Falster Rare Books has released their Catalogue Nineteen. This is our first catalogue from the London based bookseller and I found it somewhat difficult to describe the mix of material offered. So, I went to their website and will let let her describe their specialties: “rare books of the European Enlightenment, economics, trade and commerce, arts and manufacturing, social sciences, history of ideas, and book history.” As might be expected for the European Enlightenment, books will be found in several languages, and are well within anyone's definition of “antiquarian.” Beyond that, there is quite a variety. Here are a few.

 

We will start with a fiction, a satiric catalogue of the Bibliotheque de la Cour de la Ville. This is a 1789 “bibliography” that has been attribute to Abbé Rive. Rive was the librarian of the Duc de la Valliere, one of the greatest book collectors of the time. The titles listed in the library take real personalities of the time and combine them with satirical titles. Often, the titles are scandalous. Cardinal Rohan is connected to dangerous liaisons. The cross-dresser La Chevalier d'Eon is connected to the island of Hermaphrodites. The timing of the book is important as it was the eve of the French Revolution and all sorts of radical thoughts were beginning to spread around the land. Item 10. Priced at £650 (British pounds or approximately $1,044).

 

Henri Grégoire was a remarkable man from the era of the French Revolution. From the early days of it the priest Grégoire was a fighter for good. He wrote for the emancipation of the Jews, against slavery and the slave trade, denounced the prejudices against those of a darker skin. Over the years, he would be involved in many political battles until his radical ideas finally forced him into retirement. In 1815, he anonymously published Plan d'association generale entre les savans, gens de lettres et aristes, pour accelerer les progres des bonnes moeurs et des lumieres. Grégoire calls for sort of a united nations of intellectuals and artists to work together for international cooperation and a better world. Item 45. £1,950 (US $3,135).

 

For those into bird catching (or watching), here is a guide to a place you may not know: Bird-Catching, or, The northern adventurers: being an account of several methods of taking birds in the the Feroe Islands, and some other places. This is a children's book by Theodosia Candler, published in 1823. For the rare person who might not know where the Feroe Islands, more commonly known as the Faroe Islands, are located, they are a Danish possession located in the middle of nowhere. It is between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic, between Norway and Iceland, cold, damp, windy, rainy, a place one wonders why even birds would go. But they do. Actually, they fly a long ways to get there. Goes to show you. The book is arranged as a series of questions between a son and his mother, where answers speak of the birds and fish of the islands, as well as some insights into the lives of the islanders. This copy has the inscription of five-year-old Sir Henry Holland, a British Secretary of State for the Colonies (but not at the time he signed this book). Item 68. £600 (US $965).