A Amsterdam; & se trouve à Paris: chez Vincent, Imprimeur-Libraire, rue S. Severin, 1766. First edition of a legendary rarity. Barbier and Cioranescu ascribe this work to Madame de Verzure, about whom little is known, though Quérard tells us she was the wife of a Geneva banker. She apparently wrote no other books. Bottom corners worn, leather worn in one spot on back cover. Otherwise a very good copy. Contemporary mottled calf. Gilt spine with burgundy morocco label, blue marbled edges. Two volumes in one, twelvemo. xxiv (including the initial blank), 210, [6, publisher’s catalogue], , 282, pp. Item #14914
In the dedication to Mirabeau, the author notes “Une femme qui savise décrire, & cqui ose hazarder limpression, doit se cacher avec soin, & se garder de jamais se laisser appercevoir.” Madame Verzure has retired from society in order to better understand herself as woman and as a thinking person. This work, which is principally addressed to women, contains about sixty chapters of reflections on the world and her position in it. There are chapters on the passions, honor, celibacy, marriage, goodness, humor, law, pain, ennui, paternal love, one’s duty in the world, truth and sincerity, notions of the soul, self-love, etc. The last two chapters, “La femme raisonnable” and “La femme du monde” present the central concern of this book: the woman of the world versus the woman of intellect: “L’une veut qu’on la croie parfaite; lautre cherche à le devenir.” OCLC lists ten copies, six in North America: Harvard, Yale, Duke, Indiana, UCLA and Cal State Bakersfield.