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Book of the week — Traitte Des Diuertissemens, Inclinations, & Perfections Royales



Potier de Morais (fl. 1644-1670)
Paris: Pierre Moreau, 1644
Only edition
DC133.32 P64 1644

Set in the exotic Orient, this novel on the education of a prince was written for and dedicated to six-year-old Louis XIV. Potier de Morais added pedagogy on the art of being king amid attempted kidnappings, fierce combat, reversals of fortune, damsels in distress, faithful friendships, love, and, naturally, tennis. Skills such as how to conduct an army in the field are presented as the same skills needed by an absolute ruler to sponsor a grand fete.

One character is an amiable poacher, Dom Castagne, who describes his idyllic life in woods belonging to someone else, hunting hare, stag and fowl. Morais developed Dom Castagne into the lead character of an unpublished comedy.

This book was printed in Pierre Moreau’s ‘script types,’ copied from the Italian cursive calligraphy considered most polite of the time. There was a strong interest in the seventeenth century, especially among French aristocracy, in script over type. Moreau, a writing master, wrote several books on the art of handwriting. As a printer, he was the first to develop calligraphic hands into type.

By securing his privilege directly from Louis XIII in 1642 to use his “nouveau caractheres,” Moreau (ca. 1600-ca. 1649) became Imprimeur ordinaire du Roy without joining the powerful printers’ guild. This did not please the master printers of Paris. Moreau was harassed by printers, booksellers, and writing-masters alike. In 1648, the Communaute des Libraires, Imprimeurs et Relieurs secured an injunction forbidding him to print. Moreau consequently abandoned typography and died soon after.

No other copy of the present work is in the United States. University of Utah copy bound in 19th-century glazed purple boards with gilt spine title and date, red edges.

View the original article on the OpenBook Blog

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