Le Mastigophore. Antoine FUZY.
Le Mastigophore.
Le Mastigophore.
Le Mastigophore.
Le Mastigophore.
Le Mastigophore.
Le Mastigophore.
Le Mastigophore.
Le Mastigophore.
Le Mastigophore.
Le Mastigophore.
Le Mastigophore.
Bizarre Literary Vengeance

Le Mastigophore.

Only edition. Early in 1608, Antoine Fuzy (or Fusi), avocational literary madman and parish priest of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Leu in Paris, had been suspected of sorcery and libertinage by parish warden and royal conseiller, Nicolas Vivain. Fuzy had publicly stated his belief that the judicious use of menstrual blood was the best way to put out stubborn chimney fires. This may have been the least eccentric of Fuzy's views, as Vivain soon formally charged him with witchcraft, no minor accusation during a period in French history where sortilège was prosecuted with annihilating vigor. Fuzy first responded to the charges by publishing a relatively mild, 22-page memoiristic pamphlet against his fresh nemesis. But Fuzy did not stop there. He set to work on a genuinely weird, 40,000-word Rabelaisian cavalcade of personal indictments, invective, and outright libel against Vivain, and published it anonymously as Le Mastigophore. Fuzy writes in the persona of one Victor Grevé, geographe microcosmique, who claims to have translated the screed from an unattributed Latin original; Vivain is referred to anagrammatically in the text as Juvain Solanicque. The book is remarkable for its fauvist locutions, inventive insults, and unceasing vindictive repine, but it is best remembered today as the work in which the word tartuffe first appears. On pages 61-6, Solanicque is addressed by the author:


Tu fais le Quintilien sauvage et boccager, le Saloman nouveau, le Docteur Salope, le Camerlingue d'eloquence, l'Aristarque de factouterie, et tu'n'es qu'une tartuffe, qu'un butor, qu'une hapelourde.


It's not hard to taste the vinegar of Fuzy's loathing for Vivain in this obscure sentence, and clearly it stuck in the mind of Molière, who, with his eponymous 1664 play, would consecrate tartuffe to French literature forever. Vivain, for his part, did not appreciate Le Mastigophore, and had Fuzy swiftly jailed (more for libel than for witchcraft), stripped him of his ecclesiastical investiture, and sued the man for damages. Brunet does not much care for Fuzy's books, or for the writer himself, calling him an apostat, for both Le Mastigophore and for his 1619 diatribe against the church. Later in life Fuzy came to embrace Calvinism, and he died in 1628. A notorious literary outlier's most colorful philippic, which Blavier included in his Fous littéraires purely for the unequaled quality of the invective. Two copies located in American libraries, Yale and Wisconsin.


Full title: LE | MASTIGOPHORE | OV | PRECVRSEVR DV | Zodiaqve. | Auquel, par maniere Apologetique, ſont briſées les brides à veaux de Maiſtre Ivvain Solanic- | qve Penitent repenti, Seigneur | Morddrect, & d'Amplademus | en partie, du coſte de la Mouë. || Traduit de Latin en François par Mai- | ſtre Victor Greve' Geo- | graphe microcoſmique. | VINAEVI | Comedis ſolem, | Pingueſce luce. || M. DC. IX. [S.l., s.n., 1609]

? ? 1609.

Octavo, 175 x 114 x 22 mm (binding), 172 x 112 x 19 mm (text block); ā4, A-L4, M3, N-Ss4, T1; [8], 330 [recte 328] pp. Nineteenth-century binding of blond calf, spine titled in gilt on black morocco skiver lettering-piece: LE | MASTIGOPHO. Extremities a bit rubbed, leather soiled in places. Interior: Title mended, not near text, where the paper presumably bearing an old signature was removed; paper flaw to ā2r, affecting two letters in last line of text and in part of signature; slender marginal worm galleries to several gatherings, touching a single letter in shoulder notes on two pages; last leaf foxed (perhaps a cancel printed on different stock); scattered paper flaws; deckles evident on several leaves. M4 was likely a cancel: the catchword and text are continuous, and the collation is consonant with all examined copies.

Provenance:

Custodial signature of Jules Bobin, dated 1862, to verso of free end. Engraved ex-libris of Daniel Berditchevski to upper pastedown. Jules Bobin was a friend of literary iconoclast Joris-Karl Huysmans, and the executor of his estate. "Huysmans avait parmi ses amis un grand bibliophile, Jules Bobin, qui avait réuni une collection immense de livres anciens et rares. Parmi ces livres, nombreux étaient ceux concernant l'occultisme, la liturgie, les curiosités religieuses, sujets chers à Huysmans qui dut souvent fouiller dans les rayons de son ami." —Bulletin de la société J.-K. Huysmans, March, 1929. Daniel Berditchevski was a noted midcentury Belgian collector.

Caillet 4265 ("ouvrage étrange"); Brunet II, cols. 1427-1428 ("…cet ouvrage dont le style est aussi ridicule que le fond"); Blavier, Les fous littéraires, pp. 1001-3 ("la qualité de l'invective nous a incité à le faire figurer au chapitre des littéraire"); Moroval, Agathe, "Le franc-parler du Franc Archer (Antoine Fuzy, 1619): l’auteur transfuge et l’auctoritas," La liberté de parole au tournant du XVIe et du XVIIe siècle; Lyon: ENS Éditions, 2005. A critical edition of Le Mastigophore was published by Tourrettes: Les Promeneurs solitaires, in 2008. The only institutional copy of this critical edition is at the BnF, and is described as "en feuillets." A work by one Premier Pilote Amiral Laisné, published at Brest in 1700 with a very similar title—Le mastigophore; ou, Précurseur du zodiaque : divisé en trois parties…—is not a second edition, and indeed bears no relation to Fuzy's book.

Item #174

Price: $6,500.00

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