# 14356

POUGENS, Charles de (1755-1833)

Histoire d’Alexis Goodman, tirée des manuscrits de feu M. le capitaine Cook

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pp 1-75 in: Pougens, Charles de. Récréations de philosophie et de morale. Yverdon : [F. B. de Félice] ; et se vend à Paris : chez Debure l’aîné, 1784. Duodecimo, contemporary full calf ruled in gilt (rubbed), spine with gilt ornament, contrasting morocco title label lettered in gilt ‘Histoire d’Alexis Goodman’ (frayed at head and tail), gilt dentelles, marbled endpapers, edges stained red, lacking title page (which was never bound in), pp [2], 75, iv, 47, 45, [2], 88; each of the four parts with separate half title, and the phrase ‘Premiere partie’, ‘Seconde partie’ etc.; a crisp, clean copy.

A great Cook rarity.

Charles de Pougens, French essayist, translator, lexicographer, publisher, bookseller and correspondent of Rousseau, lost his sight after an illness in 1779. This obscure literary publication contains a work apparently conceived in four parts, and was evidently written after 1779. The four parts are: Histoire d’Alexis Goodman, tirée des manuscrits de feu M. le capitaine Cook; Lettres à une femme sensible et sensée sur divers sujets de morale; Lettre à M. le Comte de F*** sur la vie et les ouvrages de Galilée; and Fazel, ou les méprises de sentimens, histoire véritable traduite du persan.

The first part is the story of a fictional character, Alexis Goodman, and is an ‘imaginary voyage’ set in Europe that purports to be a translation of a story found amongst the manuscript papers of the late Captain Cook. We know that Pougens had a particular interest in travel and exploration as he later translated works into French by John White (Voyage a la nouvelle galles du sud a Botany-Bay au Port Jackson en 1787, 1788, 1789), Watkin Tench (Relation d’une expédition à la Baye Botanique) and Georg Forster (Voyage philosophique et pittoresque en Angleterre et en France, fait en 1790).

An earlier, separately issued version of Histoire d’Alexis Goodman was published in Geneva in 1781. The only copy of the Geneva edition recorded in Australian collections is held in the Mitchell Library, whose catalogue entry quotes the Hordern House catalogue from which it was acquired in May 2010: “A strange and elusive publication: despite the compelling title, which claims that the story of Alexis Goodman was found among the papers of the great Captain Cook, it appears to be completely unknown to the Cook bibliographers … This odd work therefore – although any claim to authenticity disappears in the first paragraph – joins a very small small group of publications to claim credibility from a connection with Cook.”

OCLC locates only 4 copies of the 1784 edition, which we offer here, in collections worldwide (University of Oxford; Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire – Lausanne; Biblioteca della Fondazione Biblioteca San Bernardino; Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library)