[SAURIN, Bernard Joseph.] ~ Mirza et Fatmé, conte indien, traduit de l’Arabe. ‘À la Haye’ [Paris], 1754.
12mo (162 × 90 mm), pp. [iv], 322, , including half-title and table. Typographical ornament to title. Contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt, small and neat ownership stamp of F. C. Raben in gilt on front cover. Old library stamp to half-title. An excellent copy.
First edition. A rare novel for young readers, in the form of a fairy tale set in India, with a full complement of the requisite genies and magical occurrences; a preface by the ‘translator’ explains the origins of the text and tells of its discovery in Delhi in an Arabic manuscript from the library of the Grand Mogul. Saurin (1706-1781) was a dramatist and poet with a particular interest in contemporary English writing; he published translations and imitations of Pope, Thomson, Lillo, etc. He was very friendly with Helvétius, who secured him a pension which enabled him to abandon law and dedicate himself to writing.
The novel appeared in English as Mirza and Fatima in the same year. Cioranescu 59517; Gay III, 240; Dufrenoy, L’Orient Romanesque en France 1704-1789, 181.