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Nisard, [Marie-Léonard] Charles.  Histoire des livres populaires ou de la littérature du colportage depuis le XVe siècle jusqu'à l'établissement de la Commission d'examen des livres du colportage (30 novembre 1852). Paris: Librairie d'Amyot (Imprimerie D. Jouaust & Ch. Lahure), 1854. 8vo (24.5 cm, 9.64"). 2 vols. I: [4], xvi, 580, [4] pp.; illus. II: [4], 599, [1] pp.; 1 fold. plt., illus.

First edition of this important study of the chapbooks and tracts (both secular and religious) peddled by itinerant sellers in France: the first comprehensive, systematic work published on the subject. Nisard was a member of the titular government committee charged with licensing (and censoring) the literature sold by colporteurs, putting him in an excellent position to collect and document a great deal of otherwise ephemeral printed material — much of which he considered pernicious in influence. Covered in these two substantial volumes are almanacs, occult pamphlets, catechisms, biographies, sermons, letters, primers, religious polemics, romances, etc.
        The text is => decorated with over 100 illustrations reproducing woodcuts from tracts described, many mounted and some full-page, including a number of danses macabres.

Brunet, VI, 1720 (no. 30066); Graesse, IV, 679. Later plain cream linen, spines with titles stamped in brown; minor sunning to spines and to top front edge of vol. II. Edges untrimmed, most signatures unopened; dust-soiling to edges and into many margins; foxing, creasing and cockling variously; some leaves in vol. I with short tears from outer margins (often where an illustration needed to be placed inside an unopened signature). => Of interest for scholars of public morals and popular culture, the book trade, and illustration in France from the 15th century through the middle of the 19th, among other topics.  (40866)   Please RESHELVE This.

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