Geneve: 1755. First Edition. Small 12mo (15cm.); full contemporary calf, gilt spine in six compartments, reddish-brown gilt spine onlay, all edges marbled, marbled endpapers; xviii,-326pp. (*12 B-N12 O7 [M4 and M6 missigned L4 and L6]). Boards a bit scuffed, tiny chips at spine ends, 20th century Lisbon bookseller ticket to front pastedown, else Very Good, internally fine. Item #1356
The first appearance of the oft-reprinted private memoirs of a major-minor French courtier, published seventy-five years after his death in 1680. La Porte first served in the court of Louis XIII, ingratiating himself especially to Anne of Austria and her entourage, placing himself in an especially desirable position following the death of the monarch and the coronation of Louis XIV. According to the Preface, the present work, which covers La Porte's forty years at court, from 1624 to 1666, was first discovered among the papers of a recently deceased, unnamed man-of-letters and at first deemed too sensitive in content to be published. Though perhaps something of an exaggeration, La Porte did serve as Anne of Austria's sole and secret go-between with the Kings of England and Spain among other heads of state, raising the suspicion of Cardinal Richelieu, who threw him in the Bastille until Louis XIII and the Queen were reconciled. La Porte spent the following years in exile, but was recalled to court by Anne on the occasion of Louis XIII's death, though he eventually left again, once more in disgrace and never to return. A myriad of editions would follow suit, though this first appearance scarce in American institutions, OCLC noting two copies in the United States as of January, 2021, at Union College and the U. of Illinois-Chicago.