Amsterdam: Etienne Roger, 1716. 12mo. Engraved frontispiece + 6 ff. including two letterpress title-pages (both with inkstain, extending onto frontispiece), followed by pp. numbered 5-378 + 3 ff. Contemporary French marbled calf, five raised bands on spine, compartments gilt, red lettering piece in the second, marbled endpapers, edges stained red. IN EXCELLENT STATE. Very good. Item #4074
LOVELY AND INTRIGUING COPY WITH A SIGNIFICANT LOUDON / HUGUENOT PROVENANCE.
"La meilleure édition, avec frontispice de bon tirage" (Guaïta Bibliothèque occulte, 23), significantly augmented from the 1693 first edition. As is well known, Urbain Grandier was tortured and burned at the stake in 1634 for "the crime of sorcery, evil spells, and the possession visited on some nuns of the town of Loudon." The shocking case remains important not only important in the history of witchcraft and Catholicism, but in the history of medicine on account of the depictions of the "mass hysteria" of the nuns who were in Grandier's charge.
The author, Nicolas Aubin, was a Huguenot minister from Loudon who had been a young man at the time of Grandier's death. His was the first book to present the history of the case from a Protestant perspective, directly contradicting the "orthodox" Catholic account. Following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, he and thousands of other Huguenots fled France. The present volume was published from the safety of Amsterdam, Aubin's home in exile. His book was widely read, and from then on the battle lines were drawn.
Aubin argued that the Huguenots of Loudun had been undermined by the intrigues of the nuns, ecclesiastics and magistrates. "[The nuns] were instructed about how best to perform during the public exorcisms in order to incriminate Grandier, who was reputedly a libertine and an embarrassment to the Catholic cause, and to demonstrate the power of Catholic ritual over the devil. [...] " Richelieu made the decision, approved by Louis XIII, to proceed against Grandier, coopting the polarised conflicts between religion and medicine and between the Catholic and Huguenot citizens of Loudun for his own purposes, including the privileging of his own city." (SOURCE: Craig E. Stephenson, "Looking Back: The Possessions at Loudun" in: History and Philosophy, Psychosis and Schizophrenia, British Psychological Society, 18 February 2014, online).
Aubin claimed that the "malice and long and deadly intrigues of the convent of nuns and a great number of Ecclesiastics, supported by a body of magistrates, of habitants of the town, and favorites of the court," were aimed at damaging the Huguenots. Whereas Aubin did not doubt the existence of demonic possession, he simply did not believe it existed in the case of Urbain Grandier. According to our author, Grandier was innocent of any crime of sorcery and the accusations of extreme lechery were also false; the nuns, supported by the priests, were imposters rather than possessed victims. (SOURCE: Robert Rapley, A Case of Witchcraft: The Trial of Urbain Grandier, 1998, p. 214, citing the 1693 edition).
PROVENANCE: Our copy comes from the library of JOLY DE BAMMEVILLE family, who would have been extremely interested in this book because they were wealthy HUGUENOT silk and cotton manufacturers who actually originated in LOUDON. Indeed, they had held a fiefdom in Loudon (Chateau de Lourdines), along with a seat in the Haute Justice. They left Loudon for the tolerance of Saint-Quentin (Aimes). Eventually the Joly de Bammeville bloodline became extinct.
The present ex-libris belongs to the eighteenth century; the crown is that of a marquis, and the arms are emblazoned: Partie au 1 d'azur à deux gerbes d'or, au chef de gueules chargé de deux larmes d'argent; au 2 coupé. A: de sinople au chef d'argent chargé d'une épée de pourpre en fasce; B: d'or à la bande d'azur chargée de deux coquilles du champ. The first owner was either Samuel Joly de Bammeville, Sgr de Bammeville (1684-1755), who was born in Loudon, or one of his sons, Jean Samuel Joly, dit Joly aîné (1722-1785) or Pierre Joly de Bammeville, Sgr de Pommery (1724-1797). Our book was likely passed from Aimé François Samuel Joly de Bammeville (1785-1831) to his Edmond Joly de Bammeville (1817-1893), who was a great bibliophile and collector of curious art, sculpture, tapestries, and furniture. Some of his collections were sold posthumously for which see the very incomplete "Catalogue de meubles anciens et de style [etc.], objets variés de la collection de feu M. Joly de Bammeville." It would appear that all the books were grouped into a single lot, namely no. 131 which is described merely as "Livres" (!)
The complexities of this extensive family have been documented by Mme M. Severin, "La famille Joly de Bammeville" in: Mémoires de la Fédération des Sociétés d'Histoire et d'Archéologie de l'Aisne / Société académique de Saint-Quentin, vol. 29, 1984, pp. 105-136.
Three title-issues of this edition exist, two being the imprint of Etienne Roger as here, and one printed for the "Compagne." Unusually, our copy has the title-pages for BOTH Etienne Roger issues (Coumont C117.1 and H46.3). The second title-page reads: "Histoire des diables de Loudun; ou, De la possession des religieuses ursulines, et de la condamnation & du suplice d'Urbain Grandier, cure de la meme ville. [With the subtitle] Cruels effets de la vengeance du cardinal de Richelieu." Our copy has the extraordinary 2-page song (!) which begins: "L'Enfer a révélé que par d'horribles trames, Je fis pacte avec lui pour débaucher les femmes..." This unnumbered leaf is bound following p. 378 and is not present in the Bibliothèque de la Ville de Lyon copy.
IN EXTREMELY FRESH STATE INSIDE AND OUT.
Caillet I, 508 and 509.