a Londre: Chez Jean Nourse, 1750.
First Edition in French. Frontispiece and 16 engraved plates by Gravelot engraved by Aveline, Chedel, Fessard et Pasquier. WITH: pencil portrait of Gravelot, so identified in pencil tipped in at title-page of Vol. I (by [Charles-Étienne] Gaucher, according to pencilled note at front). 4 vols. Small 8vo. SCHIFF COPY, WITH PENCIL DRAWING. Contemporary citron calf, gilt spines, a.e.g. With the small red leather booklabels of Mortimer Schiff Cross III, 317; Cohen 394; Rochedieu p. 107. Item #245819
Pierre-Antoine de la Place (1707-93) was famous as the author of the compendious "Théâtre Anglais" (1745-48), in which a number of plays by Shakespeare first appeared in French, and he was a great admirer of Fielding. According to Cross, La Place "could not resist . . . the temptation to translate ['Tom Jones'] into his own language. . . . The result was not so much a translation as an adaptation and abridgment" in keeping with what the French understood to be finely wrought narrative. Among other things, Laplace cut down the novel by a third, frequently compressing the narrative and eliminating most of the initial chapters, which he saw as "preliminary discourses" that were instructive and amusing but not an integral part of a novel. This first form of "Tom Jones" to appear in French, appears a year after Fielding's original in English.
This is a faux London imprint, probably printed in Paris.
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