[Biblical demon Asmodeus/Diable/The Devil]

Almanach du Diable, Contenant des Predictions très-curieuses & absolument infaillibles: Pour l’Année MDCCXXVII (1737) Aus Enfers, Avec Approbation & Privilege, 41 pp. Text in French.

Decorative paper binding, 10 x 7 cm. The title of this booklet attracts the eye and sharpens the curiosity, and this is also the intention of the author, supposedly the biblical demon Asmodeus, as he claims in his preface. “The Devil’s Almanac, containing very curious and absolutely infallible predictions for the year 1737”, suggests to the reader a parodic collection with sarcastic humor.
The Almanac begins with a preface by the author, describing the difficulties of finding a printing press for the booklet. That of the Ecclesiastical News, a jansenist underground magazin, might have been appropriate, “but where in the world can it be found?”. The solution finally prevails: the Lord Lucifer will have his own printing house.
Thereafter a list of 67 predictions follows. The target of these prophecies are the “people”, the celebrities of the moment, courtiers, ecclesistical dignataries and other fine speakers, characters who were laughing at La Rochefoucault and La Bruyere in the previous century. No one is named, the purpose of the game is for the public to find who is behind each character, and the author to avoid censorship. The 12th prediction refers to the playwright Le Franc de Pompignan, whose plays are today little known. Some predictions are general: “two great rhymers, one young, the other old [Voltaire and Rousseau], (…). The themes are diverse, but predictions often revolve around Jansenism, their quarrel with the Jesuits and the Unigenitus bubble. Jansenist believe that everything is written in advance and that the grace of God is granted independently of our behavior. They thus attract the animosity of Pope Clement XI, who in 1713 blasted the bull Unigenitus, condeming 101 proposals from the reference Jansenist work of Pasquier Quesnel, Moral Reflections. This bubble will be strongly contested and the case will continue for another 50 years.

This strong presence of the Jansenist cause in the Devil’s Almanac suggest according to The French archives that the author was a nephew of the author of Moral Reflections. Imprisoned in the Bastille, he hanged himself on June 1, 1738 without having confesse…. the mystery remains intact. The work was immediately banned, the copies burned. It is therefore rare to find one. The French Archives have a handwritten copy, maybe this printed copy is the one that survived censorship and was copied. For: What can censorship do against the Devil?

Clément XI (pape ; 1649-1721), Le Franc de Pompignan, Jean-Jacques (1709-1784), Voltaire (1694-1778), Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1712-1778), Humour, Satire, Parodie, Jansénisme, Jésuite.

Incl. BTW  539,55

Excl. BTW  495,00

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