(IMAGINARY LIBRARIES). ‘FORTSAS, comte de’. Geoges ROZET, editor. ~ Catalogue d’une très riche mais peu nombreuse collection de livres provenant de la bibliothèque de feu M. le Comte J.-N.-A. de Fortsas accompagnée d’une préface et de commentaires de Georges Rozet sur les livres imaginaires en général et ce catlogue en particulier. Paris: Baudelot for Collection pour MMMCCCXXXIII Bibliolatres, [c. 1933].
4to (275 × 180 mm), pp. 22, plus facsimile catalogue in 8vo, pp. , 12. Bound, preserving original upper wrapper, with 2 other works for the MMMCCCXXXIII Bibliolatres in contemporary vellum, gilt. This copy printed for Mademoiselle Adéle Bonnet. From the books of the late Martin Stone (1946-2016).
First edition of this short study of the notorious Fortsas library hoax, issued with a facsimile of the original 1840 catalogue. In that year, booksellers, librarians and collectors were surprised to receive copies of a sale catalogue for a remarkable library, containing just 52 books, each purporting to be a work or edition existing in a single copy only. Converging on the small town of Binche on August 10th, hopeful bidders were surprised to find the notary’s office in which the sale was to be held did not actually exist and later, to learn that there was no library of unique books and no comte de Fortsas. The hoax had been perpetrated by Renier Hubert Ghislain Chalon, an antiquarian who enjoyed playing elaborate pranks on intellectuals. The catalogue became highly collectible and was reprinted several times.
This edition was prepared for the Parisian bibliophilic circle, the MMMCCCXXXIII Bibliolatres, and is here bound with 2 other publications by them: Lettres de La Fontaine à sa femme (1937) and Choix de Poésies du Général L.-N.-M. Carnot (1933).