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Rare abridged Robinsonade: French captain Viaud is shipwrecked
and stranded on islands off the coast of Florida

[ROBINSONADE]. [Captain Pierre VIAUD].
Der französische Robinson. Oder außerordentliche Schicksale des französichen Kaptain Viaud nach seinen eigenen Berichten. Aus dem französischen.
Prague, Johann Herrl, 1795. 8vo. Contemporary blind-tooled half calf, red speckled paper sides. 122 pp.
€ 1,500
Rare first and only edition of the abridged German translation of Neufrage et aventures de m. Pierre Viaud (originally published in 1770). The original French edition was written and published using the original accounts of Pierre Viaud (1725-after 1770?) by the French journalist, scholar, playwright and translator (Joseph-) Gaspard Dubois-Fontanelle (1727-1812). It is unclear how he was able to acquire Viaud's papers. "Exactly how much is the work of Fontanelle himself is uncertain, but it was an instant bestseller and became one of the most reprinted and translated works of the eighteenth-century. [...] The authenticity of the book would, over time, be much debated but was initially unquestioned. [...] After many years of debate and indecision, the basic framework (at least) of Viaud's account is now regarded as truthful." (Howgego). The work was indeed translated into several languages, very soon after the first French edition of 1770: Swedish and German in 1770, English and Dutch in 1771, and Italian in 1772.
Viaud and Madame La Couture, the wife of the Tigre's captain, managed to survive through cannibalism. In the meantime, they had reached the desolate Florida shore, where they were finally rescued by an English detachment stationed at St. Mark. Eventually, after having been moved from St. Mark to St. Augustine and travelling on to New York, Viaud secured employment with a merchant named Dupeystre. He was entrusted with overseeing a cargo destined for Nantes and thus finally - two years after his initial departure - Viaud returned to France.
With (owner's) inscriptions on the paste-downs, the recto of the front blank flyleaf, the foot margin of p. 35 ("[??]nger" in brown ink), and the head margin of p. 55 ("Schneider" in pencil). With a black stamped "M" on the title page, the head of the main text and at the foot of page 122. The binding shows signs of wear, somewhat browned and foxed throughout. Otherwise in good condition. Howgego V, R22 &V9 (erroneously state the date of publication as 1798); Ullrich IV, 75c; VD18 10727353; WorldCat 931746720 (1 copy), 54269232 (1 copy).
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Related Subjects:

Americas  >  North America & Mexico
Literature & linguistics  >  Imaginary Voyages & Utopias
Maritime history  >  Mutiny, Piracy & Shipwrecks