Item #4248 L'art de juger de l'esprit et du caractère des hommes et des femmes sur leur écriture. Edouard? HOCQUART.
L'art de juger de l'esprit et du caractère des hommes et des femmes sur leur écriture.
L'art de juger de l'esprit et du caractère des hommes et des femmes sur leur écriture.
L'art de juger de l'esprit et du caractère des hommes et des femmes sur leur écriture.
L'art de juger de l'esprit et du caractère des hommes et des femmes sur leur écriture.
Fausse piste

L'art de juger de l'esprit et du caractère des hommes et des femmes sur leur écriture. Paris: chez Saintin, [1812].

Square 12mo (21 x 91 mm). [2], 52; 10 pp. Hand-colored engraved frontispiece of a scribe at work, 24 etched & engraved plates containing 43 handwriting facsimiles. Ten-page bookseller’s catalogue at end. Later 19th-century calf-backed marbled paper(?)-covered boards (sides a bit scratched).***

First Edition of a popular early manual of graphology, the use of handwriting to judge character, with 43 facsimiles, skillfully etched or engraved after the originals.

Most of the writing specimens are from well-known historical figures, permitting the author to pontificate convincingly on the characters revealed by the hands ... a circular argument. Just as Lavater’s pseudo-science of physiognomy, which is said to have influenced the author, was the vehicle for racism and antisemitism, our handwriting expert brought all his prejudices to bear on his judgments of character. In the introduction, for example, the author discusses the innate differences between men’s and women’s hands, the latter being allegedly marked by a lack of strength, delicacy, etc. Among the 43 specimens are samples taken from manuscripts by Louis XIV, Mazarin, Racine, Frederick the Great, Pascal, Voltaire, Rousseau, Ben Franklin and Elizabeth I: the hand of this Protestant queen is deemed stiff and ostentatious, in contrast with the supposedly gentle and noble script of Mary Stuart, a Catholic.

The handwriting facsimiles appear at first glance to have been lithographed (which would have been exciting, since Engelmann did not set up the first French lithographic press until 1816): they have been incorrectly designated as such by library cataloguers, but platemarks are faintly visible and the numerals of the specimens are characteristic of engraving. Moreover, a different issue of this edition, with a different title, dated 1812 (BnF copy digitized on Gallica) states clearly that the 24 plates of handwriting were “engraved after the autograph originals” (the facsimiles were presumably etched). An enlarged edition appeared in 1816. The reference to women was removed from the titles of both those editions (L'Art de juger du caractère des hommes sur leur écriture...).

Barbier attributed the work to Edouard Hocquart (1789-1870), a printer, bookseller and printseller. He probably worked in partnership with Claude-Auguste Saintin (1780-1850), publisher-bookseller, who is described in the imprint as “libraire de Sa Majesté l'Impératrice pour les livres d'usage.” The last five leaves, which are integral to the final quire, contain a priced catalogue of over 100 “curious, instructive, and amusing” books found in Saintin’s shop: educational works, abridged and sanitized histories for older children, guides for mothers, etc. Although some cataloguers have dated this edition to 1810 or 1811, Saintin did not receive a bookseller’s license (brevet de libraire) until 1 October 1, 1812 (cf. databnf.fr), and the publisher’s catalogue, part of the final quire, includes books from 1812 (such as La Ménagerie Impériale and Le Lavater portatif).

In the US, OCLC locates copies of the edition at Yale, NYPL, and the Univ. of Chicago. Barbier, Anonymes I: 289.
Item #4248

Price: $950.00

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