Amsterdam: Chez Pierre Chayer, 1695.
Second edition of Alluis (first printed in 1675), and, except for the first letter from Héloise to Abelard (second ed.), first edition of the “translations” (see below). , 126, [2, blank] pp. 1 vols. 12mo. The Incredibly Rare, Highly Influential and Entirely Spurious Letters of Heloise and Abelard. Early calf. Edges and corners rubbed, rebacked in the 19th century; lower jo;int cracked. Bookplates of CLEMENT SHORTER and OTTO OREN FISHER. Minor stains scattered throughout. William Levitan, Item #259809
William Levitan, in his recent translation ABELARD & HELOISE. THE LETTERS OF … discusses the printing history of these letters, pointing put that although they are almost entirely “impostures” and have little to do with the original Latin from which they purportedly derive, they nonetheless “came to have a decisive role in how Abelard and Heloise were understood for well over a hundred years. John Hughes’ English translation of these into English became the standard in the English-speaking world, and even as late as 1940 editions of the English versions appeared. Alexander Pope based his famous “Eloisa to Abelard” on Hughes translation
Jacques Alluis’ account of the tragic, legendary love affair between Peter Abelard — the preminent scholastic theologian of his day — and Heloise, his brilliant pupil, was first printed in 1675. In 1695 publisher Pierre Chayer began to issue separately the three letters to Abelard from Héloïse, and the three to Héloïse from Abelard; of the six, only the first letter had been printed before (in 1693 by Chayer); he also reprinted Jacques Alluis’ account of the tragic affair in uniform format, with separate title-pages and pagination. Their correspondence is, or purports to be, one of the great series of love letters in the Western world, and although Chayer issued a collected edition later in the same year with a new preface from the printer, this is a bound collection of the separate parts as they first appeared in French. Each bears the imprint of Pierre Chayer, Amsterdam, 1695. Unless otherwise noted they are firsts. They are as follows, in the order of binding;
1.) Lettre d’Héloïse à Abailard. -47 pp. Barbier II, 1136f; OCLC 465189673 (2 copies — none in America). First published by Chayer in 1693. This letter, unlike the 5 others, has every appearance of being authentic, and follows closely (allowing for idiomatic and stylistic differences) the English version of Levitan.
2.) Réponse d’Abailard à la lettre d’Héloïse. 48 pp. OCLC: 491517699
3.) Lettre seconde d'Heloise à Abailard. 40 pp. OCLC: 67759473 [Variant title (“Seconde lettre …”) and pagination (30pp.)]
4.) Lettre troisième d'Heloise à Abailard. 36 pp. OCLC: 67759475
5.) Nouvelle reponse d’Abailard a Heloise. Lettre dernière. 35 [1, blank] pp. OCLC: 456735680 (2 copies)
6.) Histoire des infortunes d'Abailard. Lettre d’Abailard à Philinthe. 48 pp.
The translations of the letters (from the original Latin, first published 1616) with their editorial prefaces have been attributed (BN & Barbier) to Nicolas Remond Des Cours.
Price: $2,500.00 Free International Delivery