MONTAIGNE, M. Journal du voyage de Michel de Montaigne en Italie, par la Suisse et l’Allemagne, en 1580 et 1581. Avec des Notes par M. de Querlon. A Rome, et se trouve à Paris, Chez le Jay, 1774. Engraved portrait of Montaigne by Saint Aubin. (8), liv, 416 pp. 4to. Contemporary marbled calf, spine gilt with raised bands, label with gilt lettering, short split at head and foot of joints, corners very lightly bumped, red edges.
Tchemerzine-Scheler, vol. 4, p. 911 (listing an edition in 2 volumes in 12mo); Graesse, Trésor de Livres Rares et Précieux, vol. 4, p. 581; Chadenat 136.
True first edition, dedicated by the editor, Querlon, to Buffon. This is the very rare Quarto edition, this particular copy with generous margins and printed on strong paper.
The original manuscript of this work was kept by Montaigne for private use and was not destined to be published. It was forgotten for some two centuries and was discovered in a box in the Chateau de Montaigne by the abbé Prunis, in 1770. The Parisian publisher Le Jay trusted Anne-Gabriel Meunier de Querlon, keeper of manuscripts at the Bibliothèque du Roi, with the task of editing the manuscript. Shortly after the publication of the work, the orginal manuscript disappeared and this is therefore the only original text at the disposal of the readers.
“In 1578, Montaigne, whose health had always been excellent, started suffering from painful kidney stones, a sickness he had inherited from his father’s family. Throughout this illness, he would have nothing to do with doctors or drugs. From 1580 to 1581, Montaigne traveled in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, partly in search of a cure, establishing himself at Bagni di Lucca where he took the waters. His journey was also a pilgrimage to the Holy House of Loreto, to which he presented a silver relief depicting himself and his wife and daughter kneeling before the Madonna, considering himself fortunate that it should be hung on a wall within the shrine. He kept a fascinating journal recording regional differences and customs and a variety of personal episodes, including the dimensions of the stones he succeeded in ejecting from his bladder. This was published much later, in 1774, after its discovery in a trunk which is displayed in his tower.”
“During Montaigne’s visit to the Vatican, as he described in his travel journal, the Essais were examined by Sisto Fabri who served as Master of the Sacred Palace under Pope Gregory XIII. After Fabri examined Montaigne’s Essais the text was returned to its author on 20 March 1581. Montaigne had apologized for references to the pagan notion of “fortuna” as well as for writing favorably of Julian the Apostate and of heretical poets, and was released to follow his own conscience in making emendations to the text” (Wikepedia