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Saint-Lambert, Les Saisons [incl. Ziméo], 1775.

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The first illustrated edition of Zimeo


[Jean-François de Saint-Lambert (1716-1803)].

Les Saisons, Poème. […] Septième édition.





Amsterdam [= Paris], no name, 1775 [but 1776?].


8°. 467, [II] pp., with errata leaf and protective leaves for the plates.

Illustrated with 7 plates designed by Moreau the Younger and engraved by Delaunay, Duclos, Prévost and Simonet, as well as several wood engravings on title and throughout by Choffard dated 1775 and 1776 [sic], and several typographical heads-and tailpieces.

Contemporary burgundy morocco with smooth gold-tooled spine, title label, gold-tooled covers, gilt edges.


The first edition with these illustrations, including one for Ziméo, of a collection of works by Saint-Lambert. It starts with a poem on the seasons and is followed by two prose fiction works: L’ Abénaki, about the Native American Abenaki people during the American War of Independence and Ziméo, a story from the perspective of two white Americans about a the leader of a slave revolt in Jamaica. The latter is one of the rare Enlightenment texts representing slave revolution (see Bandau). In the present edition it is illustrated for the first time with a frontispiece by Moreau showing Zimeo helping two white men while being surrounded by other formerly enslaved men, captioned “j’aimerai deux blancs, dit-il” (I would like two white people, he said). Previous editions only have illustrations for Les Saisons.
The first edition was published in Paris, 1769, with plates after JB Le Prince and Gravelot. What follows is a complicated succession of editions of which the copy we offer here is called the “seventh edition” on the title. Cohen specifies that the 1771 edition was reprinted as the 3rd ed. and the 1773 edition as the 5th. Based on the BnF holdings we were able to identify the following editions: 1769 first edition; 1770 edition without plates; 1771 “third edition”; 1773 “Nouvelle édition augmentée de pensées tirées de livres chinois, arabes, persans, turcs, espagnols, latins et françois”; 1773 “fifth edition”. 1775 “seventh edition” (offered here). So the seventh edition might be the sixth edition but it is hard to tell. After the “seventh” many later editions followed. The story of Zimeo was translated to German multiple times but not in English until it appeared in Matthew Carey’s The American Museum of 1789 as Zimeo: a tale.

The other works by Saint-Lambert in this edition are: Sara Th…; Pièces fugitives; Fables orientales.

Provenance: with the bookplates of Victor Albans Fauconneau Dufresne (1798-1885), medical author and of Aaron J. Matalon (1919-2009), prominent Jamaican pioneering businessman after who the library at the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean was named.

Condition: the fine binding a little rubbed at the edges, minor foxing and marginal staining to some leaves, otherwise a very good and beautiful copy.

Literature: Cohen/Ricci Sp. 926; Sander 1779.

Anja Bandau, “Jean-François de Saint-Lambert and His Moral conte “Ziméo” (1769) in the Context of Abolitionist and Imperial Activities”. In: Tricoire, D. (eds) Enlightened Colonialism. Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series, 2017.


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