Books for Trade: L’Arétin français, par un Membre de l’Académie des Dames 1803

A very scarce and fragile item and some confusion about which of a number of possible clandestine editions this actually is, here follows some communication between myself and Patrick Kearney from earlier today:-

Good Morning Pat

L’Aretin has arrived and not at all what I expected, it is tiny and quite fragile, the frontis and another plate is detached, and the plates are all at the front of the book with a description of each on the facing page, I initially thought that there was a missing illustration only to find that at huitieme there are 3 illustrations gathered together, the verso of description and illustrations are all blank. The Pagination only begins with Les Epices de Venus ou Pieces Diverses in which there are 56 numbered pages. Which might well explain the difference in pagination with the Dutel.
As already stated the little gem is very fragile, but I will try to scan it all if I can without buggering it up completely and then drop box it for you to see, you are much more able to make sense of it than I am, if of course you have time.

Steve, Hi:

Got the L’Aretin, and I have to say it’s a pretty little item and
one that still defies identification. There are three dated ‘1803’
but they all have differences which tend to distinguish them
from being the same as the little delight you’ve picked up.

The date seems right, or at least it’s in a close ballpark. Your
scanning is excellent, BTW, and I love the phallic frontis.

Pat ,Sorry my friend

Opening ones eyes helps, I note looking at the images that they all have their number above the top right hand border, they all appear to be present but two different images are both numbered 8, and are two thirds of the trio grouped together along with 9 the description of which stands facing a blank on the following page.

 Steve, Hi:

The pagination, I notice, appears only on the “Epices de Venus” — pp. [1]-56.
The first part is unpaginated, and so I’m thinking seriously that what you’ve
got is an exemplar of Dutel A-104 after all. He describes it as: “2 parties en
1 vol. in-12 (12.8 x 8.2 [centimetres one surmises]) de (23 ff.) et 56 pp.” He
also concurs on the date (1803), and that the plates are a “reproduction
de celles Borel-Elluin” from the edition of 1787. The texts are by Felix Nogaret.

If the size matches what you have, then I would say that you could describe
it as being Dutel A-104.

I’ve compared the plates to those in the original edition (as printed in “Ars
Erotica,” vol.1) and they seem to be reversed and are fairly crudely
reproduced. The original 1787 engravings are marvellous, and were not

Best wishes


Well the above is included to illustrate the type of communication that goes on around clandestinely published erotica, especially when it is something as old and marginal as this. Despite Mr Kearney’s reservations on the matter of artistic rendering, I am absolutely charmed with this little book, and would welcome any further information or alternative view on the edition. So here for your enjoyment are the highlights of the item in question, being the title pages, frontispiece and 19 coloured plates of :
L’Arétin français, par un Membre de l’Académie des Dames 1803
This Book is available to trade against my Paris Olympia Press wants.

L'Aretin Title Page

L'Aretin frontispiece

L'Aretin Image 1

L'Aretin Image 2_0001

L'Aretin Image 3

L'Aretin Image 4

L'Aretin Image 5

L'Aretin Image 6

L'Aretin Image 7

L'Aretin Image 8

L'Aretin Image  (states Pag 8)

L'Aretin Image  9

L'Aretin Image  10

L'Aretin Image  11

L'Aretin Image  12

L'Aretin Image  13

L'Aretin Image  14

L'Aretin Image  15

L'Aretin Image  16

L'Aretin Image  17

L'Aretin Image  18

Title Page for Text 56 pp

Title Page for Text 56 pp

My apologies for the quality of the Jpeg scans, but because of the fragility of the book I could not flatten out the pages.

Anyone who is seriously interested in assisting with resolving the matter of which edition this is please leave a comment on this blog and I will send on request a PDF of the entire book, you will need DropBox or some such facility as the file size is too large to email.