Voisenon, Claude-Henri de Fusée, de (1708 -1775), Exercises de Dévotion de M. Henri Roch avec Mme. La Duchesse de Condor par feu M. l’Abbé de Voisenon de joueuse memoire et de son vivant Membre de l’Academie Francoise. A Vaucluse, 1786.
Erotic Literature – Claude-Henri de Fusée de Voisenon Exercises de Devotion de M. Henri Roch.
First edition. Frontispiece. 13.8 cm. In-12 (4+8), marbled boards and page edges, leather backstrip, now repaired. [xiv; 104 pages]. Épitre Dedicatoire à M. Jean Camard and the Préface de M. Querlon, Bibliothécaire de M. Beaujon precede the text, and La Rocambole, ou Notes Édifiantes et Récréatives follow the text (pp. 81 – 104). With a frontispiece (“Te Deum Laudamus”) that is both sacrilegious and sadomasochistic, showing M. l’Abbé making his point on the duchess with a scourge in his right hand and devotional images above two prie-dieu in the background. This untrimmed copy has been re-backed. A bright, crisp copy, with occasional pencil high-lighting. There are copies at the Bibliothèque nationale, Yale, and the British Library. B.N. Enfer, 567. Pascal Pia, Les Livres de l’Enfer I: 434.
Claude-Henri de Fusée de Voisenon addressed an epistle to Voltaire at the age of 11 years, who returned his thanks and predicted a career for the precocious youngster. The two of them remained friends for half a century. Coming from a great French family, Voisenon was ordained a priest in 1739 and became grand-vicaire of the Diocese of Boulogne, of which the bishop was his uncle. His uncle assigned him the task of editing the bishop’s pronouncements, which came out more as epigrams than edifying thoughts. He endeared himself to the people of the diocese to such a degree that they demanded he succeed his uncle. Voisenon, himself, went to Versailles to request that he not be named, accepting instead the Abbey of Jard, close to Melun. Well-known in the best circles of French society, Voisenon accepted an annuity of 6,000 from Louis XV to write Essais historiques for use by Louis XV’s grandson. He was elected to l’Academie française in 1762, occupying Fauteuil 13, the seventh person to have that seat. He wrote erotic literature like Exercises de Devotion in addition to comedies and an opera (L’Amour et Psyché).
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