Phaedri Augusti Liberti Fabularum Aesop. Libri Quinque
DesBillons, François Joseph
This little book (7 x 4.5) of lxxii + 120 pages plus a four-page T of C at the back is called here a shortened version of a larger work by Desbillons. Presumably, notes and commentary here have been reduced. Of course, I have long felt a particular tie to Desbillons and his work, since he was a Jesuit working on fables. For me the most touching two parts of this book are therefore the opening Praefatio, in which he speaks of having received permission in 1760 to publish his work on Phaedrus from the erudite men of the Society of Jesus. Parisian printers had then undertaken to publish the book when, Desbillons writes, an unawaited calamity took him from his studies and forced him to seek lodging among people outside. He is speaking of course of the suppression of the Society of Jesus. For that reason, the very last page of the book is fascinating. It is the 1760 permission from the provincial superior of the French Jesuits for this book to be published. The book was published in 1786, after the Jesuits had been suppressed. The S.J. thus does not appear here after Desbillons' name. In a footnote to the section of the preface to which I have referred he says that he has taken care to have this 1760 permission included in the book as a certain memorial to my one-time condition, namely his condition as a Jesuit. There are no illustrations beyond the medallion on the title-page. The book begins with three disputations on the life of Phaedrus, his fables, and their editions. Some fable texts have been annotated by a diligent writer, but I do not find his symbols intrusive. There has also been a cartoonist at work on the endpapers. The book has spent time as the property of the Bibliothek Rappenau. There are addenda to the notes at the end of the preliminary section, just before the fables begin on 1. Considerable foxing and some water-staining.
In Bibliopolo novo aul. Et acad., nunc apud Tobiam Loeffler