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  • Shakespeare traduit de l’anglois, dédié au Roi. by SHAKESPEARE, William. [Pierre LE TOURNEUR, translator]. SHAKESPEARE, William. [Pierre LE TOURNEUR, translator]. ~ Shakespeare traduit de l’anglois, dédié au Roi. Paris: [Clousier, Demonville, Valade, Veuve Ballard & Fils for] Veuve Duchesne, Musier, Nyon, La Combe, Ruault, Le Jay, Clousier, [vols 3-20, ‘Chez l’auteur... chez Mérigot,] 1776-1782.
    First edition of Le Tourneur’s monumental translation, instrumental in securing Shakespeare’s reputation in France. Preceded only by La Place’s pioneering but partial translations (1745-49) and… (more)

    First edition of Le Tourneur’s monumental translation, instrumental in securing Shakespeare’s reputation in France. Preceded only by La Place’s pioneering but partial translations (1745-49) and by some individual translations by Voltaire and Ducis, Le Tourneur’s is the first attempt at the complete works. Inspired by the 1769 Shakespeare Jubilee, Le Tourneur prefaces the collection with a long account of the Stratford celebrations presided over by David Garrick (taken without acknowledgement from Benjamin Victor’s History of the Theatres of London, 1771) and with a biography drawn mainly from Rowe. There is also an important critical essay using materials from Rowe, Pope, Theobald, Hanmer, Johnson and Sewell. The extensive subscribers’ lists (a second lists new subscribers since the start of publication) contains prominent names in both France and England.

    The story of Shakespeare’s slow acceptance in France, in the face of prevailing classicism, is well known — Le Tourneur’s translations were the first to allow French readers to make their own judgements and they perfectly reflect the transition from classicism to romanticism in French culture. Indeed, the preface is considered to contain the very first printed appearance of the word ‘romantique’ in the French language, with Le Tourneur referring to the suitably romantic prospect of a clouded landscape and then stressing the need for both the word and the concept in French.

    The edition provoked the ire of the ageing Voltaire (always ambivalent to Shakespeare) who on receiving the first volume wrote in a letter to friend: ‘I must tell you how upset I am for the honour of the theatre, against a certain Tourneur, who is said to be Secretary of [La Librairie], but who does not seem to me the Secretary of Good taste. Have you read two volumes by this miserable fellow, in which he wants to make us all treat Shakespeare as the only model of true tragedy?... What is frightful is that this monster had a following in France; and the height of calamity and horror is that it was I who was once the first to speak of this Shakespeare, it was I who was the first to show the French some pearls that I discovered in his enormous dung-heap’ (translated by Davidson, Voltaire: a Life, 2010, p. 439).

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  • Antonio e Cleopatra; tragedia. by MARESCALCHI, Ferdinando, Conte. MARESCALCHI, Ferdinando, Conte. ~ Antonio e Cleopatra; tragedia. Bassano: 1788.
    First edition of this play, copy on large and thick paper. Marescalchi was born in Bologna, then in the Papal States, on 26 February 1754,… (more)

    First edition of this play, copy on large and thick paper. Marescalchi was born in Bologna, then in the Papal States, on 26 February 1754, into a noble family, he became a hereditary member of the Senate of that town. He later supported Napoleon in Italy and prospered under his patronage.

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  • Tom Jones on the Paris stage
    Tom Jones a Londres, comédie en cinq actes, en vers, tirée du roman de Fielding, répresentée, pour la première fois, par les comédiens Italiens ordinaires du Roi, le Mardi 22 Octobre 1782. by [CHOUDARD]-DESFORGES, [Pierre Jean Baptiste]. [CHOUDARD]-DESFORGES, [Pierre Jean Baptiste]. ~ Tom Jones a Londres, comédie en cinq actes, en vers, tirée du roman de Fielding, répresentée, pour la première fois, par les comédiens Italiens ordinaires du Roi, le Mardi 22 Octobre 1782. Paris: F. J. Baudouin, 1782.
    First editions. A dramatic adaptation of Fielding’s Tom Jones for the French stage by Choudard-Desforges, with its sequel. The plays were written for performance by… (more)

    First editions. A dramatic adaptation of Fielding’s Tom Jones for the French stage by Choudard-Desforges, with its sequel. The plays were written for performance by the Comédie-Italienne, of which the playwright Desforges had been a member. Cioranescu 23412; 23418.

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  • a landmark in Italian theatre
    Liola. by PIRANDELLO, Luigi PIRANDELLO, Luigi ~ Liola. Rome: A. F. Formíggini, 1917.
    First edition. Considered to be the best play the author wrote in the traditional medium, a landmark in the history of the Italian theatre. The… (more)

    First edition. Considered to be the best play the author wrote in the traditional medium, a landmark in the history of the Italian theatre. The author was later the first Italian playwright to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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