[LE BAULD DE NANS, Claude-Étienne]. ~ Le Livre fait par force, ou, le Mystificateur mystifié et corrigé. ‘À Mystificatopolis’ [i.e. Berlin]: Chez Momus, à la Marotte, ‘5784’ [ 1784].
8vo (180 × 102 mm), pp. xvi, 286, plus engraved frontispiece. Woodcut device to title. Contemporary quarter sheep, gilt panelled spine. Slightly rubbed (wear to corners), slight worm track to foot of upper joint. Early ink shelf mark to head of frontispiece, and notes to front pastedown. A very good and attractive copy.
First edition. A witty satire in the vein of Sterne on the writing and publishing of books, with a frontispiece depicting the young author surrounded by thugs: ‘Faits-nous un Livre, ou nous allons vous casser la tête’ (’Make us a book or we’re going to smash your head in’). Part of the novel is in the form of a dialogue between a young writer and a more experienced author, but the satire is chiefly directed against the figure of the publisher, and its asks who really is the maker of a book. The French author spent most of his life in Germany and was variously an actor, playwright, journalist and a tutor to the royal court at Berlin.