A COLLECTION OF NOVELS AND TALES OF THE FAIRIES. Written by That Celebrated Wit of France, the Countess d'Anois. In Three Volumes ... The Third Edition. Translated from the Best Edition of Original French, by Several Hands. London: Printed for J. Brotherton and W. Meadows in Cornhill; R. Ware in Amen Corner; T. Astley in St Paul's Church Yard; and J. Hodges on London Bridge, 1737. Small 12mo, three volumes: pp. [1-2] [i-ii] iii-ix [x]  2-288; [1-3] 4-275 [276: ad]; [1-3] 4-239 [240: ad], eighteenth-century full brown calf, gauffered edges, red morocco title pieces. Third edition. A collection of twenty-six literary fairy tales: eleven by d'Aulnoy (eight tales plus three nouvelles used to frame them); four by the comtesse de Murat; the remainder (all in volume three) by Louise de Bossigny, comtesse d'Auneuil. As Nancy and Melvin Palmer have shown ("English Editions of French Contes de Fees Attributed to Mme D'Aulnoy," Studies in Bibliography, Vol. 27 ), the subject of French fairy tales in English in the seventeenth, eighteenth, even into the nineteenth century, is "fraught with bibliographical confusion," including unattributed and misattributed work, variant spellings of names, and the coincidental similarity of different names. The 1691 appearance of d'Aulnoy's tale "The History of Adolphus" can now be seen as starting the whole English vogue for French literary fairy tales, but it appeared without correct attribution and was until recently thought to be an original English work. Eighteen of her stories appeared in English before the nineteenth century, the most by any French author; but twenty-eight other stories attributed to her were in fact written by four others. Furthermore, the 1699 edition of d'Aulnoy's tales listed by Arundel Esdaile is regarded today as a bibliographical ghost. D'Aulnoy is, at the very least, an equal of Fénelon and Perrault. Terry Windling, in an excellent essay tracing the development of this form ("Les Contes des Fees: The Literary Fairy Tales of France"), writes that "a passion for conversational parlor games based on the plots of old folk tales swept through the salons [of seventeenth-century France] ... and a style emerged that was both archly sophisticated and faux-naif." "Unlike her contemporary, Charles Perrault (a frequent visitor to her salons), who only occasionally used his fairy tales for purposes of satire, she made that her prime motive, with the result that, unlike Perrault's, her tales were composed primarily for adults -- and were thus among the first literary fairy tales ... Although less known now, her stories contain all the basic plot devices of fantasy, and were highly influential in their day ... Her stories are usually much longer narrative constructions than the fairy tales by Perrault or the Grimm Brothers, and this fact has made them less memorable, despite their position among the earliest original fantasies. It was, however, with the translation of a few of her stories into English as TALES OF THE FAIRIES (1699), that the term 'fairy tales' passed into the language." - Clute and Grant (eds), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997), p. 72. ESTC N28398 (Edinburgh University Library, National Library of Wales, Harvard University, New York University). Previous owner's bookplates affixed to front paste-downs. Front joint of volume one repaired, corners and edges a bit rubbed and bumped but overall a very attractive copy. Enclosed in a custom quarter leather clamshell box. (#137511).
"The Third Edition" on title pages.