(LIBRARY CATALOGUE). ~ [n.p., n.d., but ?France, c. 1836-50].
Manuscript, 4to (230 × 175 mm), c. 140 written pages gathered loose in 9 folders with simple paper wrappers titled in manuscript. Loose in a later brown paper wrapper (frayed, contents fine).
A manuscript private library catalogue listing some 2000 titles, including a surprising number of English works, and with detailed shelf locations. Undated and unlocated, the catalogue appears to have been begun in 1836 with successive entries on additional sheets added until c. 1850, each sheet indicating the location of the books on shelves in what appears to have been a large house. The location of the library is unstated, though several maps and administrative publications from the southern departement of Aveyron may prove a clue.
The most remarkable feature of the catalogue is the large number of works in English, including many novels, providing an index of contemporary reading tastes to be measured and assessed. The expected English works of Shakespeare, Milton, Gibbon, Fielding, Pope, Richardson and Smollett are matched in number by the quantity of more recent novels by Austen (Northanger Abbey and Persuasion), Marryat, Bulwer, Dickens (Oliver Twist, Barnaby Rudge, Master Humphrey’s Clock and Pickwick Papers), Disraeli, Scott, Irving and Cooper, almost all of which seem to have been in their English originals rather than in translation. Aside from Austen, female anglophone authors include: Frances Trollope, Piozzi, Inchbald, Roche, Burney, Radcliffe, Montagu, Lefanu, Bennett and Palmer.
These works of fiction occupy shelves in the first two ‘corps’ of the library, where others contain typical sections of non fiction, including geography, philosophy, history and classics. In these sections two, among the large runs of Rousseau and Voltaire we find anglophone authors such as Adam Smith, Hugh Blair and Malthus. The pattern is repeated among the various collections of periodicals and folios of prints (the latter contain at least 20 sheets of unspecified English caricatures).
This is clearly a library for reading rather than a bibliophilic collection, and almost none of the books would have been considered rare or antiquarian. In almost every case the format, number of volumes and location are given, though almost none of the editions are dated.