Pontarlier: Typographie Alexandre Faivre Fils, 1843. First Edition. Paperback. Small octavo; ,36pp.; recent grey wrappers; fine. Signed and inscribed by the author "Souvenirs d'affection" on title page.
Apparently unrecorded personal account of a journey begun in September, 1842, to Italy by way of Switzerland, published to be distributed amongst the author's close friends. As Cottet warns his readers "...'il y aurait dans ces lignes d'incomplet et d'incorrect" ["the account may be abbreviated or incorrect" (my translations throughout)] (p.). Indeed, one of the gratifying pleasures the author experiences during his voyage, he states at the beginning, is that of national pride. However, the partiality of the author's writing gives his travelogue a hint of Dickensian humor, beginning in the packed and suffocating mail coach setting forth from Lausanne at midnight, his assigned seat squeezing him in beside an enormous Italian preacher and a "lady of a certain age" with a fear of drafts. During an early morning pit stop, the author opts to move to the exterior of the coach, from where he describes various historical markers as they pass by.
The first half of Cottet's account covers his trip through Switzerland, where the most notable stop, in Valais, proves to be a disappointment to the author, who had looked forward to admiring the traditional costumes, instead finding the women unattractively garbed, offensively barefooted, and behatted with something resembling "...une tourte ou [...] un gateau de Savoie." The second portion of the account provides more quotidian descriptions of the cities of Milan, Monza, Turin, and finally, back in France, Chambéry; though the author chooses not to describe the plethora of historical monuments, he does provide a short historical sketch for each city, as well as giving a description of the environs, such as the spaciousness of the sidewalks, the palatial homes, and attractive surroundings of Milan and Turin.
Not in OCLC as of February, 2015. Fine. Item #681