Saturday 21 September 2019

The Devil in Love revisited

In the first of three updates to my Halloween 2011 post on Cazotte’s The Devil in Love (here), I mentioned that I had discovered there were a number of American editions of this novel. In that post, I provided details of four original editions (representing four different translations: 1791, 1793, 1798, 1810), and three modern editions (1925, 1991 and 1993).

The three American editions I discovered in 2012 were those of 1810 (New York), 1828 and 1830 (Boston). Not having access to any of these online, I suggested at that time, that “it seems most likely that they are all reprints of no.2—the 1793 edition.”

Since writing the above, I have acquired a copy of The Devil in Love that was printed in Boston in 1828.

As you can see above, this edition has a charming frontispiece of “Biondetta Playing On The Harp”; and as you can see below, the Boston text matches—as I suspected it would—no.2 in my previous post, the 1793 edition. This edition starts “At five and twenty I was a Captain of the Guards in the service of the King of Naples, and lived in gay society …”

The two Boston editions are somewhat similar in size and length, suggesting one may be a reprint of the other. It is likely that Peaslee's the Boston edition is itself a reprint of Van Winkle's New York edition, but this is something I will only be able to establish in the unlikely event that I end up with a copy to compare my Boston edition to.

Below is my updated list of editions of The Devil in Love. Since 2011, three of the early editions have been added to Google Books, so I have added links to these. I have also passed on my copy of Biondetta, or the Enamoured Spirit, which illustrates my previous post, to Monash University, and have updated the holdings accordingly.

* * * * *

[1] Alvarez, Or, Irresistible Seduction; A Spanish Tale (London: W. Richardson, 1791). ¶ On Google Books (here). ESTC: t226198 (recording 2 copies); “When I was five-and-twenty years old, I was a captain in the the King of Naples’ guards: we lived very sociably among ourselves …”

[2] The Devil in Love, Translated from the French (London: Hookham and Carpenter, 1793). ¶ ESTC: t71529 (4 copies); on ECCO; “At five and twenty I was a Captain of the Guards in the service of the King of Naples, and lived in gay society …”

[3] The Enamoured Spirit (London: Lee and Hurst, Bell, Millar and J. Wright, 1798). ¶ On Google Books (here). ESTC: t210676 (2 copies); “At the age of five-and-twenty I was Captain in the Guards of His Majesty the King of Naples, and kept constant company with my brother officers”

[4] Biondetta, or the Enamoured Spirit (London: J. Miller, 1810). ¶ On Google Books (here). I have located nine copies: L [1458.d.16] and O [Fic. 27524 e.164]; CaSRU [PQ 1961 C5 A6413 1810]; CtY [Hfd29 151N], DLC [PZ3.C3197 B FT MEADE], MH-H [*EC8 L5875 Y810c], PSt [PQ1961.C5A65 1810], ViU [PZ2.C39 B 1810]; VMoU [840.5 C386 A6/B]; “At the age of five and twenty I was a captain in the guards of the King of Naples.”

[4A] The Devil in Love (New York: C. S. Van Winkle, 1810). pp: 178: i–viii 9-178; 17cm ¶ One copy: NNYSL [Ham C3865 D3].

[4B] The Devil in Love (Boston: J. P. Peaslee, 1828). ¶ pp. 102: i–vi 7–102; illus.; 12cm. ¶ One copy: AuPC-PS [lacking i–ii?]; also recorded here as having being in the “Library of the Hasty-Pudding Club in Harvard” in 1841. “At the age of five and twenty I was a captain in the guards of the King of Naples.”

[4C] The Devil in Love (Boston: N. H. Whitaker, 1830). pp. 110; illus.; 12cm ¶ Three copies: DeU [PQ1961 .C5 A6413 1830], MH-H [GEN 40516.6.2*], InU-Li [PQ1961.C5 D513 1830].

[5] The Devil in Love (London: Heinemann; Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1925). Limited edition (UK: 75 copies; US: 365 copies) ¶ Reprints translation no. 2; available online on Europeana, courtesy of the Bodleian Library (direct link to PDF here)

[6] The Devil in Love, translated by Judith Landry (Dedalus, 1991; 2nd ed. 2011). ¶ “At the age of twenty-five I was a captain of the king's Guards at Naples; we kept our own company much of the time …”

[7] The Devil in Love. Followed by Jacques Cazotte: His Life, Trial, Prophecies, and Revelations by Gerard de Nerval, translated by Stephen Sartarelli (Marsilio, 1993). ¶ “At the age of twenty-five I was a Captain of the Guards in the service of the King of Naples. We lived much of our time …”

Thursday 19 September 2019

The Australian Fanny Hill

Apparently, "one of the few objectionable productions of the Australian press" (*) appeared in 1878: The Life of Emily Duncan; an Autobiography; with Introduction by Robert Coles (Sydney, N.S.W., 1878).

Information about this Aussie Fanny Hill appears as item 521 in Bibliotheca Arcana seu Catalogus Librorum Penetralium (London: George Redway, 1885), a bibliography of erotica that appeared under the authorship of "Speculator Morum," but which is generally ascribed to Sir William Laird Clowes (see here).

Bibliotheca Arcana seems to have been based on a mix of entries taken from two erotic bibliographies by Henry Spencer Ashbee, and cuttings from contemporary, unidentified booksellers' catalogues. (I discuss this item in my post on "An 1886 review of Bibliotheca Arcana" here.)

Sadly, The Life of Emily Duncan is not known to survive, and is not known from any other source (i.e., it is not cribbed from Ashbee, and does not appear in any surviving bookseller's catalogue, bibliography etc.)

Clowes, however, reproduces more than the just the title of this volume. From him, we learn that it was published in Sydney in twelve octavo sheets (192pp: xxiv, 168).

The text is characterised as follows by Clowes:

One of the few objectionable productions of the Australian press. Emily Duncan, a woman of some personal attractions, kept a house of ill-fame in Sydney, some years ago; and, after her retirement, wrote this life of herself her paramour, Robert Coles, contributing a preface, in which the authoress's charms are very minutely described.

Alfred Rose simplifies this characterisation as follows (Registrum Librorum Eroticorum (1936), 1.197 (no.2645), citing Bibliotheca Arcana 521): "An Australian work similar to 'Fanny Hill'.”

I have been unable to identify either the Sydney Madam Emily Duncan (active, I would guess, in the 1870s) or her paramour, Robert Coles. It would not be very surprising that both the names and the place of publication are fictitious. But it would be nice to examine the book itself for further clues, to identify either the printer, or Ms Duncan.

* !! I imagine there were citizens of Sydney who, in 1885, would have thought that there were a great many productions of the Australian press that were "objectionable." However, the only other item printed in Sydney in either Clowes's or Rose's bibliographies is the 1925, Fanfrolico Press edition of Lysistrata illustrated by Norman Lindsay (Registrum Librorum Eroticorum (1936), 1.204; no.2743).

Melbourne appears twice in Rose (but not in Clowes), once for W. J. Chidley's The Answer (1.64; no. 838) and once for Tales of the Villa Brigitte, translated from the French by M.A. Oxon (London [and] Melbourne: H. J. Vicar, Sons [and] Co., 1910), 2 vols (2.329; no. 4444)—but this is something to explore on another day.

An 1886 review of Bibliotheca Arcana

The rather harsh review of Bibliotheca Arcana seu Catalogus Librorum Penetralium (1885) below seems to have attracted no notice at all. This is not terribly surprising since this erotic bibliography has attracted little comment of any scope beyond its authorship (generally ascribed to Sir William Laird Clowes, see here).

The page-long review appeared in Book-lore: A Magazine Devoted to Old Time Literature, vol. 3 (January 1886): 53 (here). In this review, the reviewer complains that "the compilation"—"it is nothing better"—had been "put together without system or classification," that it "displays neither grasp of the subject, critical acumen, nor bibliographical treatment," and that it has "the appearance of cuttings from a bookseller’s catalogue" rather "than notices by a bibliographer."

The reviewer goes on to note "the influence of two much more important and thoroughly done bibliographies" on Bibliotheca Arcana. The bibliographies are not named, but those with a copy of the book being reviewed could follow the opaque references provided to identify these as two erotic bibliographies by Henry Spencer Ashbee.

In 1982, Patrick Kearney simply echoes these anonymous complaints, when he describes the Bibliotheca Arcana as "heavily cribbed" from Ashbee's erotic bibliographies, and that (an unspecified number of) entries had "been culled from unidentified sale catalogues" (A History of Erotic Literature (1982), 13).

In 2017, Sarah Bull repeated Kearney's observations (without citation) when she states that "The composition of Clowes's Bibliotheca Arcana … is so similar [to the works of Ashbee] that the bibliographer has often been accused of plagiarizing Ashbee's work" ("Reading, Writing, and Publishing an Obscene Canon: The Archival Logic of the Secret Museum, c. 1860–c. 1900," Book History, Vol. 20 (2017), 230 [emphasis added]).

In his Clandestine Erotic Fiction in English, 1800–1930 (1993), Peter Mendes included a "Checklist of Clandestine Catalogues, 1885–c. 1930." This checklist includes a catalogue from January 1899 by Charles Carrington that mirrors the title of Clowes's Bibliotheca Arcana:

To be kept under Lock-and-Key. Bibliotheca Arcana. Being a rough list of rare, curious and uncommon books, pamphlets, prints & engravings that have been Privately Printed, Prohibited by Law, Seized, Anathematized, Burnt or Bowdlerized; more particularly, those relating to the Mysteries of Human Affinities, or dealing with the Attractions and Aversions—Vices and Virtues—Loves and Longings—Hates and Failings—Passions and Peculiarities of Live, Moving, Men and Women—and throwing light upon the Psychology of Sex [Held British Library, Cup.364.g.48].

Bull describes the preface to this catalogue as "plagiarizing liberally" from Clowes's Bibliotheca Arcana (249), but does not say anything of the source of the entries.

All I can add regarding this last question—the non-Ashbee material in the Bibliotheca Arcana—is that at least one of the items cribbed from "unidentified sale catalogues" is not known to survive, is not known from any other source (i.e., it is not cribbed from Ashbee): I discuss this item in my post on "The Australian Fanny Hill" (here).

* * * * *

Bibliotheca Arcana seu Catalogus Librorum Penetralium: being brief notices of books that have been secretly printed, prohibited by law, seized, anathematized, burnt or Bowdlerized. By SPECULATOR MORUM. London: George Redway, MDCCCLXXXV. Small 4to., pp. xxii. 141 and xxv.

WE are always ready to hail with a cordial welcome every book on bibliography, of which the notices are at first-hand, done conscientiously, and de visu[*]. This seems to be the case with the Bibliotheca Arcana, although we must take exception to it on other grounds. The books noticed, the nature of which is sufficiently explained on the title-page, are of a kind which renders it desirable that they should not be made very generally known. Many hold that every book has a utility of some sort, nullus est liber tarn mains qui non exaliqua parte prosit[†]; others that all books, irrespective of their subjects or tendencies, should be catalogued. It is not for us to argue either point here, and as the Bibliotheca Arcana is an expensive publication, is issued, we believe, to subscribers only, and is well printed on excellent paper, its existence may for these reasons be condoned. But we fear it will be found of little service to the bibliophiles, for whom it is evidently destined: it is put together without system or classification; the entries are undigested, and have more the appearance of cuttings from a bookseller’s catalogue than notices by a bibliographer; neither are the works by the same author or the various editions of the same book brought together, but are dispersed in various articles, and spread over several pages; translations are served up as original works; books issued at different times with different titles are treated as distinct works; there are numerous errors which we cannot in this journal paint out. In fact, the compilation (it is nothing better) displays neither grasp of the subject, critical acumen, nor bibliographical treatment. “The entries,” we are told, “have been arranged (?) without any reference either to subjects or authors. The index which is appended will enable the student to classify for himself.” This is all very well, but it is not for the guest to arrange the entertainment to which he is invited.

The preface is the best part of the book. “It would be an interesting task,” writes Speculator Morum, “for an essayist to describe the progress and fortunes of the erotic in art and literature from the earliest times down to the present day, to show how eroticism was in some mysterious way at the root of all ancient religions; and to point out how, instead of being looked askance upon, it was actually favoured and patronized by priests, poets, sculptors, dramatists, and philosophers in the classic ages, which have handed down to us not only literature, but also pictures, statues, and gems, tinged with the most extreme eroticism, and yet truly lovely in their design and workmanship.” Interesting as such a task might be, we doubt whether the author is to be found, at any rate in England, likely to undertake it. We cannot but think that we trace, both in the preface and in the general idea and form of the book itself, the influence of two much more important and thoroughly done bibliographies of the same description of books, lately privately printed, and which are noted in arts. 6 and 7 of the Bibliotheca Arcana [§]. As in the Bibliographic des Ouvrages relatifs a I’Amour of Gay, many books have been introduced which are foreign to the scope of the work; so in Mr. Redway’s compilation there are several articles, among which we may instance Nos. 323, 330, 435, 437, 556, 595, of which we fail to see the raison d’ĂȘtre.

[* from sight]
[† "There is no book so bad that some good cannot be got out of it," a paraphrase of Pliny the Elder]
[§ i.e., Ashbee's Index Librorum Prohibitorum (1877) and Centuria Librorum Absconditorum (1879); Catena Librorum Tacendorum was not published until 1885, and is not included in the Bibliotheca Arcana]