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OLIVEIRA, Francisco Xavier de

Cartas familiares, historicas, politicas e criticas. Discursos serios e jocosos.  2 vols.


Vol. I, Amsterdam (but The Hague, Chez Adrien Moetjens, 1741). Vol. II, The Hague, Chez Adrien Moetjens, 1742.


Small 8vo.  I: (2) ff., 400 pp.;  II: (3) ff., 394 pp.   Recent leather.   Vol. I, title p. mounted, tiny wormhole in first 3 ff. just affecting text, tear repaired in pp.  85/6 & 285/6, some headlines just shaved.  Vol. II, small hole in pp. 15-24 just affecting text, tiny wormhole in inner margin of pp. 85-118, 273-286 &  211-220, some discolouration & staining.

First edition.   “The Chevalier (de Oliveira) was a witty and amusing man, obviously a notable and most lovable chatterbox, and these . . works containing his table-talk are extremely entertaining” (Kendrick, The Lisbon Earthquake, p. 104).   The author, one of Portugal most original letter writers, used irony to illustrate his points, and referred to the country as a clock slowed down by the malice and perversity of those employed who wind it ("um relógio atrasado pela malícia e perversidade daqueles que têm a cargo dar-lhe corda").   He was then living in The Hague and, all other of his ambitions having failed, attempting to earn his living as a writer.   "Subjects (of the Cartas Familiares) are various:  love, literature, witchcraft, and even the relation of a man's character to the ribbon on his hat . . .   After the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 he addressed a pamphlet in French to the King of Portugal, exhorting him to mend his ways . . .   He was duly burnt in effigy at Lisbon (1761) . . ." (Bell, Portuguese Literature, pp. 286-86).   His writings were forbidden by the Inquisition to circulate in Portugal.   Lacks Vol. III of which few copies were printed.  

Innocêncio III, 91.      



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