Thursday 17 October 2019

Les Journées Amusantes in Italian

The first six days (only) of Madeleine Angélique Poisson de Gomez’s Les Journées Amusantes (Paris: G. Saugrain, Charles le Clerc, Ándre Morin, 1722–31) was translated into Italian by Pietro Chiari, and published under the title Li Giorni di Divertimento in 1758. This 1758 translation was reprinted in 1777. To the best of my knowledge, the only modern critic to mention Li Giorni di Divertimento is Séverine Genieys-Kirk, and she only mentions the 1777 edition in her account of translations of Les Journées Amusantes.**

I mentioned Li Giorni di Divertimento in my previous posts on the translations of Les Journées Amusantes (here) and the illustration of this work in translations—such as Eliza Haywood's La Belle Assemblee—(here). In both posts I mentioned the 1758 edition, but with a question mark.

As the illustrations to this post suggest, I can now remove the question mark, because I have managed to buy a copy of the first volume of the 1758 edition (which, as the image below shows, contains three days: Primo, Secondo, and Terzo Gionrno).

After landing my copy and doing a bit more research, I have realised how very fortunate I was to be able to find a copy of this edition so quickly. As far as I can tell only a single set is held in any institutional library anywhere in the world (and this is not in Italy) and only one set has appeared at auction in the last two centuries (and that was in 1871).

The only known set of Li Giorni di Divertimento is held by the Bodleian Library [Vet. F5 e.310]. The Bodleian catalogue describes their set as follows: each volume is bound in original bookseller's limp pasteboards, with stitching exposed and leaves uncropped (the same as mine, see below) and is 19cm tall; an engraved frontispiece in v.1 (above and below) depicts "Madame de Gomez writing in a book-lined study."

The full title and imprint are: Li Giorni di divertimento, di Madama di Gomez, tradotti dal francese. Tomo primo.[-secondo.] (In Venezia: Presso Domenico Deregni, con licenza de' superiori, e privilegio, 1758). The Bodleian copy appears on WorldCat; no copy is recorded on the Union Catalogue of Italian Libraries (here), the The European Library (here) etc. If anyone is able to locate another copy, I'd love to hear about it.

Below is an account (in Italian, and badly translated) of the publication by Francesco Antonio Zaccaria (here) from when the translation first appeared, followed by a contemporary review (in French, and badly translated), and then all the later references I can find for copies in auction catalogues etc.

**(Séverine Genieys-Kirk, “Eliza Haywood’s translation and dialogic reading of Madeleine-Angelique de Gomez’s Journées amusantes (1722-1731),” in Translators, Interpreters, Mediators: Women Writers 1700-1900, edited by Gillian E. Dow (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2007), 37.)

* * * * *

[Francesco Antonio Zaccaria], Memorie per servire all'istoria letteraria (appresso Pietro Valvasense. In Merceria all'Insegna del tempo, 1758), 399–400 (here).

Amico Carissimo,
Venezia, 2 Novembre

IN contrassegno della memoria, che di voi conservo, benchè da molto tempo lontano, mi dò il piacere di mandarvi il presente Libro (a). Egli è adattato alla corrente stagione, ed opportuno alla deliziosa villeggiatura, che siete vicino a godere in codesti amenissimi vostri colli, ove avrete tutto l'agio di leggerlo, e gustarlo. So veramente, che non siete molto amico dell'Opere Romanzesche, e non andate dietro alla corrente del volgo, che in questi tempi, piucchè in altro mai, le gradisce, e ne pregia, e favorisce gli Autori; ma pur mi lusingo, che siate per leggere la presente con piacere, non già per semplice effetto di vostra amicizia verso di me, che ve ne spedisco una copia, ma in forza del suo merito, che a mio parere la deve rendere immune dal pericolo di venir con quelle confusa. Basta leggerne il nome dell'Autore Francese per esserne persuaso, essendo questi la celebre Madama di Gomez, che nel pubblicare questo gentil |400| parto del suo felice ingegno non lo giudicò immeritevole d'essere da lei umiliato al presente Augusto Monarca della Francia, che in quel tempo era ancora nella sua adolescenza. Troverete in questo primo Tomo, che solo vi mando, per essere l'altro ancora sotto il torchio, mille tratti d'erudizione, di Storia, di Politica, e di Morale Dottrina; vi sorprenderanno due Dissertazioni una sopra l'amore, l'altra sopra lo spirito; e non potrete a meno d' ammirare alcuni avvertimenti dati da una Madre a sua Figlia sopra la condotta generale della sua vita. Li racconti, che vi si trovano inseriti, sono bensì favolosi, e trattano di materie amorose, ma le trattano saggiamente, e in guisa che devono servire, non a guastare, ma ad istruire il Lettore. Li caratteri delle persone vi sono espressi a meraviglia, e ci danno l'idea del vero conversare, non quale è in uso a nostri tempi, ma quale dovrebbe essere. In una parola questo è un Libro nel suo genere eccellente, come nella Prefazione con tutta giustizia l' asserisce lo Stampatore; e se v'è qualche difetto lo è della traduzione, che si conosce fatta frettolosamente, ma che però se non è ottima, non è neppure delle cattive. Leggetelo che sarà per aggradirvi. Addio.

(a) Li giorni di divertimento di Madama di Gomez, tradotti dal Francese. Tomo I. in Venezia 1758, presso Domenico Deregni, con licenza de' Superiori, e Privilegio.

[Dear friend,
Venice, 2 November.
IN the mark of memory, which I have kept from you, although I have been away for a long time, I am pleased to send you this Book (a). It is adapted to the current season, and appropriate to the delightful holiday, that you are close to enjoying in these very pleasant hills, where you will have all the leisure to read it, and taste it. I really know that you are not very fond of Romance work, and do not go after the current of the vulgar, who in these times, more than ever, likes them, and prizes them, and favors the Authors; but I do, however, flatter myself that you are going to read the present with pleasure, not just as a result of your friendship towards me, that I send you a copy, but by virtue of its merit, which in my opinion must render it immune from the danger to come with those confused. It is enough to read the name of the French author to be persuaded, this being the famous Madame of Gomez, who in giving birth to her | 400 | happy ingenuity did not consider it undeserving of being submitted by her to the present Augustus Monarch of France, who at that time was still in his adolescence. You will find in this first volume, that I send you only, the other being still in the press, a thousand traits of scholarship, of History, Politics, and Moral Doctrine; two dissertations will surprise you, one above love, the other above the spirit; and you cannot fail to admire some warnings given by a Mother to her Daughter over the general conduct of her life. The stories, which are inserted in them, are indeed fabulous, and deal with loving matters, but treat them wisely, and in such a way that they must serve, not to spoil, but to instruct the Reader. People's characters are wonderfully expressed, and give us the idea of true conversing, not which is in use in our times, but which should be. In a word, this is an excellent book of its kind, as the Printer states in the Preface, with justice; and if there is any defect it is the translation, which is known to have been made hastily, but which, if it is not excellent, is not even bad. Read it to please you. Goodbye.

The first volume of a 1758 edition was reviewed in Annales typographiques, 2 (July 1760): 249–50 (no. 181; here):

I giorni di divertimento di madama di Gomez; tradotto dal francese, tomo I. In Venezia, presso Domenico Deregni, con licenza de’ superiori e privilegio, 1758, in-12.
Les journées amusantes de madame de Gomez, tome I. A Venise, chez Dominique Deregni, avec permission et privilége des superieurs, 1758, in-12.
Tout y répond au titre, tout y est amusant, non seulement pour ceux qui ne veulent qu’être amusés, mais même pour ceux qui veulent être inftruits: differtations, réflexions morales, fićtions romanesques, avantures galantes, traits d'histoire, anecdotes; tout cela ferencontre dans cet ouvrage.
On trouve aussi dans ce premier volume deux dissertations, l’une sur l’amour, & l’autre sur l’esprit.
Quoique la tradustion he sçauroit passer pour excellente, elle n’est cependant pas mauvaise. M.

[Everything answers to the title, everything is amusing, not only for those who only want to be amused, but even for those who want to be educated: dissertations, moral reflections, romantic fictions, gallant adventures, characteristics of history, anecdotes; all this is found in this book. There are also two dissertations in this first volume, one on love and the other on the mind. Although the translation would be considered excellent, it is however, not bad. M.]

A copy of volume 1 is recorded in this 1767 catalogue; a two-volume set is recorded as item 4410 in this 1774 catalogue, plus this 1793 catalogue; volume 2 appears as item 217 in this 1802 catalogue; and two volumes bound together appear as item 3209 in this 1871 catalogue.