Die vier Weltalter nach dem Ovid in vier Idyllen.
8vo. (6), 34 pp.
(Bound with) II: The same. Abhandlung über die Frage: Welche dauerhafte Mittel giebt es, die Menschen ohne äußerliche Gewalt zum Guten zu führen? Ibid., 1785. 40 pp. Contemporary full red morocco, probably Viennese, elaborately gilt on spine and cover borders with oval green morocco, gilt with flower stamps, inset to both covers within a crowned cartouche. Leading edges gilt. Marbled endpapers. All edges gilt.
Two juvenile prose works of great rarity by Juliane Baronesse von Mudersbach (1766-1805), lady-in-waiting to Maria Carolina of Austria, the wife of King Ferdinand IV of Naples. She settled in Naples in 1785 and there married Duke Nicola Giovane di Girasole; together with Goethe, who describes her in his "Italian Journey", she witnessed an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius on 2 June 1787. She left her husband in 1790 and accompanied Maria Carolina to Vienna. A similarly rare collection of her prose works, entitled "Gesammelte Schriften der Frau Herzoginn Julie von Giovane", was edited by Joseph von Retzer and published by Ignaz Albert in Vienna in 1793.
Dedicated to the Swiss poet Salomon Gessner and based on verses from Ovid's Four Ages of Man in book I of the Metamorphoses, her "Idylls" imitate the style of Gessner's popular pastoral prose (also titled "Idyllen", published 1756-72), each of the four texts opening with a quote from Ovid. The accompanying treatise explores the steps necessary to become a morally better person, a key issue of the Enlightenment. It discusses child education, recommending instruction in history and morals, and the roles of religion and government, making the case that a greater number of laws would only amplify acts of immorality. Further, the author discusses corruption and political apathy, suggesting a public system of rewards for good behavior.
Extremities slightly rubbed. Occasional light creasing and brownstaining; marginal tear to pp 31f. of the second work, not affecting text. Contemporary handwritten text correction to p. 16 of the first work and probably Swedish ownership "E Freidenfelt" to title-page.
Only three copies of the original edition of the "Idyllen" (Vienna, Yale and Trier) and only four of the "Abhandlung" (BSB Munich, Aschaffenburg, Basel, and Copenhagen) are traceable in libraries internationally. Charmingly bound.
Goedeke V, 450, 14, 3. Kayser IV, 156. Wurzbach V, 191. Meusel/Hamberger, Das gelehrte Teutschland II, 567. Schindel, Die deutschen Schriftstellerin des 19. Jhs. I, 162. Deutsches Literatur-Lexikon VI, 344. Gallas/Runge, Romane und Erzählungen deutscher Schriftstellerinnen 63. OCLC 1070821699 and 165793259.