MIRABEAU, Gabriel-Honoré de Riquetti, comte de. ~ Erotika Biblion… Nouvelle édition, corrigée sur un exemplaire revu par l’Auteur. Paris: Vatar-Jouannet, ‘chez tous les marchands de nouveautés’, ‘An IX’, 1801.
12mo (128 × 80 mm), pp. iv, 248, plus engraved portrait. 8 blank leaves loosely inserted at several points at an early date, some bearing contemporary manuscript notes, one further small annotation (Hebrew characters). Contemporary sprinkled vellum. Becoming loose towards the rear, but secure, lower joint cracked.
Written in prison and first published in 1783, Mirabeau’s learned but witty treatise on the varieties of sexuality in antiquity was immediately banned and issued in very few copies (traditionally only 14). Later editions continued to provoke the censor and are also rare. In this Paris edition, a near-contemporary reader has inserted notes on the early publication of the text, the opinion that Mirabeau presents ‘des tableaux plus licentieux que ceux de l’Aretin’, and Greek transliterations of chapter headings, with definitions.
Pia’s A-342 conforms to this edition, save for the spelling of the first word of the title. Pia gives ‘Errotika’ as in all previous editions, while ours reads ‘Erotika’. This may therefore be Pia’s error, and may also suggest ours is the first edition to bear the modernised title spelling customary in all later editions.
Gay I, 150-155 (still the best explanation of the text).