L’Amour Dévoilé, ou le Système des Simpathistes, où l’on explique…

~ L’Amour Dévoilé, ou le Système des Simpathistes, où l’on explique l’origine de l’Amour, des Inclinations, des Simpathies, des Aversions, des Antipathies, etc. [n.p. ?Low Countries], 1749.

[bound after:] PERNETTI, Jacques, Abbé. Histoire de Favoride. Geneva: Barrillot et fils, 1750.

2 works bound together, 12mo (163 × 95 mm), [Tiphaigne de la Roche]: pp. viii (includes half-title), 170. Typographical ornament to title; [Pernetti], pp. 165, [1], engraved frontispiece depicting the tomb of Favoride, title printed in red and black, woodcut ornaments. Contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt in compartments. Rubbed with wear to corners, wants headcap. A good copy.

First editions. Tiphaigne de la Roche’s L’Amour Dévoilé is a notable attempt to explain love and sexual attraction in mechanistic terms. The author considers the role of ‘la matière Sympathique’, which he believed to be a type of vapour exhaled by both animals and humans, and its action upon the senses of a member of the opposite sex. This rational approach to the subject makes overt reference to Leeuwenhoek who had explained the action of skin pores and appears to prefigure modern research into pheromones.

The author studied medicine at the University of Caen and practised as a physician. L’Amour Dévoilé is his first published work preceding several speculative and utopian novels, notably Giphantie (1760, the title an anagram of his name) in which he anticipated several modern developments including photography and synthetic food.

Pernetti, author of the moral romance Histoire de Favoride was a canon of the cathedral at Lyon and a prominent antiquary of that city. He was also a freemason and wrote a short treatise on that subject. Gay I, 115 (L’Amour Dévoilé).

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