EMBLEMES DE FLORE ET DES VÉGÉTAUX, by (Language of Flowers)…

EMBLEMES DE FLORE ET DES VÉGÉTAUX, by (Language of Flowers) LUCOT, Alexis.
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EMBLEMES DE FLORE ET DES VÉGÉTAUX, Dédiés aux Littérateurs, comme Recueil d'allégories sur les Plantes et sur les Arbres; aux Nobles, comme Traité utile au blason; aux Peintres, comme Manuel des attributs végétaux, ET AUX DAMES, COMME LANGAGE DES FLEURS.

Paris: L. Janet, Duponcet and Delauney 1819. First and only edition. A very early work on the language of flowers, and one of only a small handful to have been published prior to the appearance of Charlotte Latour's LANGAGE DES FLEURS, generally cited as the originator of the genre in its 19th century form. Lucot, whose book appeared 10 months prior to that of Latour (now generally thought to have been Louise Cortambert) is significant not merely for having preceded Latour, but also for having been her primary source for determining the various flower/sentiment pairs that make up the language. Indeed, Lucot's version of the language is made up of 291 different entries while Latour uses only 272. While it is certainly true that it was Latour's more literary and romantic approach that was most responsible for popularizing the genre and producing its many imitators, to Lucot must be due the largest portion of credit for actually formulating the particular set of floral associations on which the "language" is based. Whether Cortambert actually "stole" her meanings from Lucot is a matter of interpretation, but there is good reason to conjecture that Lucot thought this was the case and was infuriated by it. Printed on the verso of the half-title is a stern warning against counterfeiters, and a promise to split the rewards of legal action with anyone who would bring them to his attention. This notice could easily have been inserted into unsold copies of the book after Latour's highly successful volume first appeared. In any case, the warning appears to have had no consequence. Lucot's dry and more methodical text reads more as a reference book than anything else. The main text provides a lengthy entry for each plant beginning with its unique emblem or meaning followed by botanical notes, historical and literary observations and bits of plant lore. A separate index for the individual meanings and their respective plants is also provided. 12mo (14.2 x 9 cm); engraved frontispiece + x + 174 pp.

Original printed paper covers, a bit of nicking to spine heel and slight bumping at corners, but a very well preserved copy.

Book ID: 15877
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