Paris: Chez Antoine Dezallier, 1696. Item #03685
One Hundred and Two Magnificent Portraits of Famous Men of the Seventeenth Century
PERRAULT, Charles. Les Hommes Illustres qui ont paru en France pendant ce Siecle: Avec leurs Portraits au naturel. Par Mr Perrault, de l'Academie Françoise. Paris: Chez Antoine Dezallier, 1696-1700.
First edition. Two folio volumes (16 15/16 x 11 1/8 inches; 431 x 283 mm.). [viii], 100, , , [2, list of plates]; [iv], 102, , [1, blank] pp. Allegorical title engraved by Edelinck after Bonet, engraved portrait engraved by Edelinck after Tortebat (facing preface) of Charles Perrault and 102 fine portraits engraved by Lubin, Edelinck, Duflos, van Schuppen and Nanteuil, of the illustrious men of France, including the two 'suppressed' plates of Antoine Arnauld, Docteur de Sorbonne and Blaise Pascal which are bound in with their respective leaves of text at the end of the text in volume one.
Contemporary mottled calf, spines with six raised bands, decoratively stamped in gilt in compartments, red morocco labels lettered in gilt. top and bottom of spines expertly and almost invisibly repaired.
A fine and large copy of the first printing with early impressions of the plates and wide margins. The censor had suppressed two of the portraits, Antoine Arnauld and Blaise Pascal replacing them with those of Louis Thomassin, Prestre de l'Oratoire and Charles Du Fresne, Sieur Du Cange. These two censored portraits and the corresponding text sheets have been bound in at the end of the first volume, as in the example cited by Brunet.
"Comme le siecle où nous vivons, riche des biens de tous les siecles precedens qu'il a recueillis par droit de succession, & riche encore de son propre fonds, a vû toutes les Sciences & tous les Arts s'élever en quelque sorte à leur derniere perfection; il n'est pas étonnant qu'il ait esté si fecond en grands Hommes" (Préface).
An English translation by J. Ozell, was published in 1704, and a Dutch edition in French in 1736, but neither of these editions reproduced the engravings that had originally accompanied the text in the first edition. There has never been a second edition. The only other version that is currently available is by Slatkine (1970), a photo-facsimile reproduction of the first edition. Perrault's work consists of one hundred and two pen-portraits of famous men of the seventeenth century, each accompanied by an engraving. No women are included, though this cannot be attributed to misogyny in the case of Perrault who was much maligned for his own Apologie des femmes (1694). No individual portrait is longer than two pages. For inclusion, the individuals had to be dead (hence Boileau, who died in 1711, could not have been included and, in any case, since he was an arch Ancient and a long-standing literary enemy, Perrault might have chosen to exclude him).
Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was a French author and member of the Académie Française. He laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known of his tales include Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Cendrillon (Cinderella), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots), La Belle au bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty), and Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard). Some of Perrault's versions of old stories may have influenced the German versions published by the Brothers Grimm more than 100 years later. The stories continue to be printed and have been adapted to opera, ballet (such as Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty), theatre, and film. Perrault was an influential figure in the 17th-century French literary scene, and was the leader of the Modern faction during the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns.
Brunet (IV, 509).