Friday, May 2, 2014

Constitutions

False imprints are always entertaining. So many reasons to lie on a title page! This French translation of each of the constitutions of the thirteen American colonies purports to have been printed in Philadelphia in 1783. There is no dispute about the date, and it is easy to imagine why the French might be particularly interested in the topic in 1783, but the place of publication is almost surely a lie. By why?

There are a couple of possibilities with this one.  First, it could be that claiming to be an American imprint lent the book an air of authenticity. It is about America, it came from America, therefore it must be accurate. More likely fear was a factor. French politics were so unstable at the time that what might be acceptable one year could get you beheaded the next. It could be that the Paris publisher was simply hiding behind an "import" brand to save his neck!

Come see for yourself by asking for Rare KF4530.U5513 1783.

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