[Autograph Note Signed by Anne-Marie du Boccage, 18th-Century French Writer, Poet, Playwright, and Saloniste].
French Revolutionary-era note by French feminist writer and salonnière Anne-Marie du Boccage (1710–1802) who Voltaire called the “Sappho of Normandy.”
Du Boccage and her spouse established a literary salon in Paris. In 1746, she won the first prize of the Rouen Academy and was soon introduced to members of the Académie Française and the French Academy of Sciences. She is noted for her bestselling translation of Milton’s Paradise Lost, the tragic play Les Amazones (The Amazons) performed at the prestigious Comédie-Française, and the epic poem La Colombiade.
Here writing to “Citoyen du Chaural,” du Boccage may be making reference to her collected writings, Recueil des Oeuvres de Madame Du Boccage, Des Académies de Padoue, Bologne, Rome, Lyon & Rouen, published in three volumes in Lyon in 1770 or her Oeuvres Poétiques (Paris, 1788). Her use of the honorific “Citoyen” (Citizen) in the note suggests that it was penned during the French Revolution. In full, with approximated English translation:
“Il y a huit ou dix jours habile Citoyen que je vous priai de me donner un moment pour vous parler du volume de mes ouvrages que vous m’avier demandé. Je ne sai[s] si on vous la donné. Je crains q’uil ne soit perdu ou déchiré sans doute vous n’aver point trouve l’ocasion d’en faire usage. Dit moi ce qu’il est devenu. Duboccage. Mille complemens à M. de Pougens.”
[Eight or ten days ago, Clever Citizen, I begged you to give me a moment to tell you about the volume of my works which you have requested from me. I don’t know if it was given to you. I fear that it is lost or destroyed. No doubt you have not found the opportunity to use it. Tell me what happened to it. Duboccage. A thousand complements to M. de Pougens.]
“Anne-Marie du Boccage [was awarded] more literary prizes than any other woman of her time. [Not] only was she received by the Pope, but she was the second Frenchwoman, after Emilie du Châtelet, to be admitted to the prestigious academies of Rome and Bologna.” (Wikipedia)
Description: [Autograph Note Signed by Anne-Marie du Boccage, 18th-Century French Writer, Poet, Playwright, and Saloniste].
[Paris?, c.1793–1802]. p. ANS. 3¼ x 5 inches. Small bifolium with integral address leaf and wax seal. Later pencil annotation on address leaf. Light foxing; corner separated, though still attached at wax seal, affecting one word; Very Good.