The first written Turkish embassy relation, which provided the initial spark for Müteferrika's press

Mehmed Efendi (Yirmisekiz Çelebi). Relation de l'ambassade de Mehemet-Effendi, a la cour de France, en MDCCXXI.

Paris, Louis-Étienne Ganeau, 1757.

Small 8vo. (4), XII, 233, (1) pp. Contemporary full calf with gilt spine; leading edges gilt. All edges red.


First edition, translated from Ottoman Turkish by Julien-Claude Galland. Mehmet Effendi (1680-1732) served as Ottoman ambassador to Paris between 1720 and 1721. Composed for Sultan Ahmet III and his Grand Vizier, his account, originally entitled "The Paradise of the Unfaithful", helped to change the image of European culture, lifestyle, and literature in the Ottoman Empire. Indeed, this is the first Turkish embassy of which we have a written account ("Sefaretname"). It was of special significance for the introduction of printing into Turkey, as Mehmet's son Said Effendi accompanied him and became convinced of the advantages of printing. On his return to Constantinople he began to petition to the Grand Vizier for permission to establish a press, and a few years later Ibrahim Müteferrika was famously licensed to print non-religious books: the beginning of "Ottoman book publishing in the Sultan's territory" (Neumann, p. 230).

A copy in the Bibliothèque nationale de France has an engraved portrait of the author, but this would appear to be a unique example: all other known copies were issued without a frontispiece (including the Atabey copy, formerly in the library of and bound for La Rochefoucauld, which commanded more than £3000 at Sotheby's in 2002).

Handwritten ownership "Bené" to pastedown; covers show insignificant traces of worming; a tear to the half-title repaired. A fine copy; rare.

Atabey 471. OCLC 459449580. Cf. Christoph K. Neumann, Book and Newspaper Printing in Turkish, 18th-20th Centuries, in: Middle Eastern Languages and the Print Revolution (2002), p. 227-248. Not in Blackmer.

Art.-Nr.: BN#49316 Schlagwörter: , , ,