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Letters writ by a Turkish Spy, Who Liv’d Five and Forty Years Undiscovered at Paris; Giving an Impartial Account to the Divan of Constantinople of the Most Remarkable Transactions in Europe – Complete in Eight Volumes. Giovanni Paolo Marana – 1748

Short Description

A very nice set of this almost legendary work, complete and unusually in their original bindings. Fictional letters claiming to have been written by an Ottoman spy named “Mahmut the Arabian” embedded in the French Court of Louis XIV.

Published in London by Wilde, Ballard and others in 1748. Eight volumes (Over 600 letters in all), duodecimo, engraved frontispiece to Vol I, full contemporary calf, spines gilt, some joints a bit cracked but holding. A twelfth edition of a great publishing success of the 18thC which would go on for a further fifty years.

Contemporary bookplate of Robert Midgley dated 1748 so the first owner. And the modern book label of Edward John Kenny the Latinist of Peterhouse College, Cambridge University, visiting at Harvard etc.

A journal of gossip and anecdotes on politics and events and shenanigans going on in France at the time.

Written in Italian by Giovanni Paola Marana (1642-1693) a Genoese refugee in the Court of the said Louis XIV. He completed the first volume of 102 letters, and had it translated to French and published in Paris in 1684-1686. Other volumes were published as they were completed over time. English translations by William Bradshaw became available in 1687. Later volumes issued first in English in London leading some to believe they were not by Marana. However, the consistency in style and use of words really points to Marana as being the author of the full set, not doubt with the help of translators and editors of the day.

Well liked by Daniel Defoe who wrote an aptly named “Continuation of Turkish Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy in Paris” ... a sort of 18thC sequel.

Incidentally, the last owner Professor Kenny used to gauge his candidates by seeing how nice they were to his cat Fufu … it became known as the Fufu test … that’s Latin for you.

The Turkish Spy – A Classic By Marana

Price: $890.00

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