Publisher: London: Printed for T. Cooper, 1743.
Edition: The second edition (but first London) of the first English translation of The Memoirs and Adventures of the Marquis de Bretagne and the History of the Chevalier de Grieu and Moll Lescaut, preceded only a Dublin edition of 1741, printed "for the translator."
Bibliographical References: ESTC N10511 locates seven copies (Advocates Library, BL, Columbia, Harvard, Huntington, NYU and Rice); OCLC adds Chicago and Sheffield; COPAC confirms ESTC and OCLC and adds no more; NCBEL II, 142.
Condition: Edges and spines rubbed; some light foxing; a very good, sound copy in contemporary state.
Book ID: 28470
Description3 vols, 12mo, contemporary calf, spines gilt-decorated in five compartments, gilt lettering (mostly rubbed off).
CommentsA translation of French writer Abbé Prevost Dexiles' fictional Memoirs, sometimes published under the title The Memoirs of a Man of Quality, together with a translation of his famous novella The History of the Chevalier de Grieu and Moll Lescaut, one of the great love stories in Western literature. Its fame was enhanced by numerous literary, stage and orchestral adaptations, the most enduring probably being the opera of Giacomo Puccini, Manon Lescaut (1893), but Alexandre Dumas, Oscar Wilde and Thomas Pynchon also used the story of the love-struck couple. Abbé Prevost Dexiles' (1697-1763) was a popular and influential writer in 18th century England, where he lived during in the 1730s, and though his extensive travels did not take him to the New World, his story of Manon Lescaut reaches its tragic climax in New Orleans and the surrounding wilderness, where Manon dies - one of the earliest, if not the earliest, description of New Orleans and Louisiana in fiction. The Dublin edition of 1741, apparently an identical text, is rare; and of the few recorded copies, two have been found to be lacking the volume with the story of Manon Lescaut. See ESTC N10512. Little is recorded about the translator, William Erskine, who warns his readers of the “Fair Sex” that they ought take heed of the story and “guard their Hearts against Love Engagements, from which they can expect nothing but Disappointments that will render them miserable and wretched.” 19th century vellum bookplate of Chandos Leigh on each front paste-down.