"I conquered pain through laughter and playfulness". Scarron in 7 volumes
Paul Scarron. Oeuvres de Monsieur Scarron. Nouvelle édition. Revue, corrigée, & augmentée de l'Histoire de sa Vie & de ses Ouvrages, d'un Discours sur le Style Burlesque, & de quantité de Piéces omises dans les Editions précédentes.
Amsterdam, Jacobus Wetstein, 1752. 12mo. 7 volumes. Title-pages in red and black, each with an engraved vignette, 7 engraved frontispieces, including a portrait, by Folkema after De Bourg and one signed “Paett”, woodcut tailpieces, head- and tailpieces beautifully built up from cast fleurons.
Contemporary half calf, red sprinkled edges. All volumes with name in manuscript on first free endpaper (“F.L. Fred. Chavannes”), volumes one, four and six with longer annotations on first and last blanks. Bindings worn, corners bumped, spines of second, third and fourth volumes damaged, a double leaf in volume two nearly detached. Still an attractive set in good condition.
Rare and best edition of Scarron's Oeuvres, published in Amsterdam, with 7 engraved frontispieces including a striking portrait of the author, the most important proponent of the burlesque genre in 17th-century France.
Despite being crippled by a degenerative disease and hampered by chronic pain, Scarron (1610-1660) enjoyed two decades of prolific literary output, producing plays, burlesque verses, satires and a novel, Le roman comique, for which he is perhaps best remembered today.
During the Fronde he took side against Mazarin, writing a fierce burlesque on the cardinal, La Mazarinade, which gave its name to the genre. Renowned for his narrative virtuosity, his work remained a source of inspiration until well into the 19th century, influencing such authors as Diderot and Stendhal.
In the afterword to his translation of Le roman comique Jacques Houis mentions a medal that was struck in honour of Scarron after his death, aptly carrying the motto "I conquered pain through laughter and playfulness".
This set comes from the library of F.L. Fred. Chavannes (1803-1893), a pastor of the Wallonian Church in Amsterdam. In an annotation on a blank of the first volume he rightly identifies the editor, who signed the preface with the pseudonym “Eutrapelophile”, as Antoine-Augustin Bruzen de la Martiniere (1683-1746).
Wetstein also published an edition in 10 volumes in 1737. According to Magne, however, the present edition is to be preferred: "La meilleure et la complète des éditions anciennes de ce poète burlesques. Elle a toujours été préférée à celle qui la précède et publiée chez la meme éditeur mais en 10 volumes, en 1737."
Cohen/De Ricci, col. 945; Magne, Bibliographie générale des œuvres de Scarron, 403; STCN (5 copies only, of which 2 in the Netherlands); cf. Paul Scarron, The comic romance. Translated [and with an afterword] by Jacques Houis. Surrey, Alma classics, 2012.