Item #4311 Paris et ses modes ou les Soirées parisiennes, par L***. PARIS.
Paris et ses modes ou les Soirées parisiennes, par L***.
Paris et ses modes ou les Soirées parisiennes, par L***.
Paris et ses modes ou les Soirées parisiennes, par L***.
“La mode fuit, saisissons la”

Paris et ses modes ou les Soirées parisiennes, par L***. Paris: chez Michelet [et] Ponthieu, An XI — 1803.

12mo (155 x 95 mm). [6], 10-214, [2] pages (probably lacks half-title). Folding stipple-engraved frontispiece of a woman (caption “La plus belle”) with contemporary hand-coloring. Publisher’s advertisement for five other works on last leaf. (Repaired hole in gutters of quire 10, affecting about 10 letters, small tear to folding frontispiece, spotting to last page.) Contemporary half calf and marbled paper boards, edges red-sprinkled (worming at lower front cover, corners bumped; ribbon marker detached).***

Only Edition of a collection of vignettes intended to convey the flavor of Parisian bourgeois life during the last year of the first French republic.

The “editor” uses the trope of the observations of a provincial visitor to Paris (whose notes he acquired in a card game) as scaffolding for 54 short chapters on Parisian fashion, shops, pastimes, construction projects, food and drink, and gossip, along with some anecdotes and allegorical tales. Described are Frascati’s (the famous Italian cafe with gardens), Tivoli, the magasins de nouveautés of the Palais Royal, candy shops (confiseurs), bookshops, music shops, perfumeries, bath houses, gardens for balls (Bastringue, Paphos, Rugéri, and others), theaters, Franconi’s equestrian amphitheatre (the Cirque Olympique), and of course the cafes and restaurants, which had recovered by this time from the Revolutionary recession, were always full, and were then as now the chosen venue of business deals and seductions. Commenting on the latest best-sellers in a chapter on la Librairie, the author notes that the gothic fad is thankfully over but that it has been replaced with sentimental novels; he sniffs at the craze for travel narrations and books for children, both no sooner published than sold out, but praises the Voyage of Denon and Levaillant’s Oiseaux d’Afrique, and those Parisian printers and publishers known throughout Europe: Didot, Crapelet, Cramer, etc. He objects to publishers’ habit of advertising their wares at the ends of books ... but a two-page catalogue concludes this edition.

A chapter on vocabulary is a reminder that word-policing is nothing new, and that fashions shift unpredictably: instead of a couturière, one was now supposed to call an assistant seamstress in a garment shop an ouvrière en linges or en modes; a cobbler was no longer a cordonnier but was now a bottier, and a hairdresser [a “stylist”] would shave your head if you called him a perruquier rather than a coeffeur.... The word “magasin” was “outlawed forever. 

What was In in post-Revolutionary Paris, as at any other time, was soon to be out, a fact not lost on the author, who added this motto to the title: “La mode fuit, saisissons la” (Fashion flees, grab her).

This copy collates [1]6 (-1/1?) 2-186. The odd pagination points to an absent half-title (Tourneux and the BnF catalogue provide only a summary pagination for the BnF copy).

OCLC locates only the BnF copy; Lacombe also listed one at the Musée Carnavelet. Lacombe, Bibliographie Parisienne, 436; Tourneux, Bibliographie de l’Histoire de France pendant la Révolution française (1900) 20272. Not in Barbier or Gay-Lemonnyer.
Item #4311

Price: $2,100.00