Memoires du Cardinal de Retz (1731)

So far, our blog has featured signed books from England, the Low Countries, and Sweden, but not yet from France. I encountered this series of books during the annual Deventer Bookmarket in 2019. A woman named Catherine Mann signed all three of her volumes of the Mémoires du Cardinal de Retz, a work that gives a historical account of the early parts of the reign of Louis XIV.

This book by Jean François Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz (1613–1679), the opponent of Cardinal Richelieu in the Fronde or French Civil Wars, is a memoir addressed to an unnamed lady, perhaps appealing to this particular female reader. The signature certainly shows a woman’s interest in history and French politics.

Unfortunately, we do not know the date of the signature or even the nationality of this female reader, but whoever she was, she wrote her name carefully in all three volumes of this book.

Source: book seen at the bookmarket in Deventer on August 4, 2019, offered for sale by Antiquariaat Klikspaan. Photos by Martine van Elk; taken and reproduced with permission.

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