The Characters, or the Manners of the Age ... Made English by several hands. With the Characters of Theophrastus, translated from the Greek. And a prefatory discourse to them, by Monsieur de la Bruyere. To which is added, a Key to his Characters. Monsier De la Bruyere.
The Characters, or the Manners of the Age ... Made English by several hands. With the Characters of Theophrastus, translated from the Greek. And a prefatory discourse to them, by Monsieur de la Bruyere. To which is added, a Key to his Characters
The Characters, or the Manners of the Age ... Made English by several hands. With the Characters of Theophrastus, translated from the Greek. And a prefatory discourse to them, by Monsieur de la Bruyere. To which is added, a Key to his Characters
The Characters, or the Manners of the Age ... Made English by several hands. With the Characters of Theophrastus, translated from the Greek. And a prefatory discourse to them, by Monsieur de la Bruyere. To which is added, a Key to his Characters
The Characters, or the Manners of the Age ... Made English by several hands. With the Characters of Theophrastus, translated from the Greek. And a prefatory discourse to them, by Monsieur de la Bruyere. To which is added, a Key to his Characters

The Characters, or the Manners of the Age ... Made English by several hands. With the Characters of Theophrastus, translated from the Greek. And a prefatory discourse to them, by Monsieur de la Bruyere. To which is added, a Key to his Characters

London: Printed for John Bullord, and Sold by Matt. Gilliflower in Westminster-Hall; Ben. Tooke, next the Temple Gate; Christopher Bateman, at the Bible in Pater-noster-Row; and Richard Parker at the Unicorn, on the Royal Exchange, Booksellers 1699 / 1698. [1-title page], [1-blank], [12], 1-288, 291-451, [1-blank] + [1-special theophrastus title page dated 1698],[1-blank], [28], [5]-45, [1-blank], [2-contents] pages. Signatures: A-2K^8 2L^8(-L7-8) 8vo. Page misnumberings: 64 as 62, 201 as 021, and 265 as 2. Complete despite pagination irregularities. Some marginal worming in the second section (Theophrastus) affecting a few letters. Recent rebinding with 1/4 faux leather spine over brown cloth with new plain brown endpapers. All edges gilt. Gilt and red leather spine label. Separate title page for Theophrastus (leaf 2G2r) is dated 1698. The contents page for both parts is bound at rear in this example. Occasionally a signature or leaf is more browned than adjacent paper. Very Good. Cloth. [27481]


Monsier De La Bruyere (16 August 1645 – 11 May 1696) was a French philosopher and moralist, who was noted for his satire. The Characters is De la Bruyere's best known work, one which earned him many friends and enemies.

"The plan of the book is thoroughly original, if that term may be accorded to a novel, and skillful combination of elements exists in it. The treatise of Theophrastus may have furnished the concept, but it gave little more. With the ethical generalizations and social Dutch paintings accompanying his original, La Bruyère combined the peculiarities of the Montaigne Essais, of the Pensées, and Maximes of which Pascal and La Rochefoucauld are the masters respectively, and lastly of that peculiar seventeenth century product, the "portrait" or elaborate literary picture of the personal and mental characteristics of an individual. The result was quite unlike anything that had been seen previously, and, it has not been exactly reproduced since, although the essay of Addison and Steele resembles it very closely, especially in the introduction of fancy portraits.

La Bruyère's privileged position at Chantilly provided him with a unique vantage point from which he could witness the hypocrisy and corruption of the court of Louis XIV. As a Christian moralist, he aimed at reforming people's manners and ways by publishing records of his observations of aristocratic foibles and follies, which earned him many enemies at the court.

In the titles of his work, and in its extreme desultoriness, La Bruyère reminds the reader of Montaigne, but he aimed too much at sententiousness to attempt even the apparent continuity of the great essayist. The short paragraphs of which his chapters consist are made up of maxims proper, of criticisms literary and ethical, and above all, of the celebrated sketches of individuals baptized with names taken from the plays and romances of the time.

These last are the greatest feature of the work, and that which gave it its immediate, if not its enduring, popularity. They are wonderfully piquant, extraordinarily lifelike in a certain sense, and must have given great pleasure or (more frequently) exquisite pain to the apparent subjects, who in many cases were unmistakable and most recognizable." (wiki)

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