1679, 1680, & 1698. First & Second Editions. Three volumes bound in one. Hardcover. Attractive contemporary ivory vellum binding, with gilt-stamped leather title label to spine. The books are:
(1) "De Peccato Originali .... sic Nuncupato, Dissertatio. Psalmographus Ps. LVIII. commate IV. ...", [Lugduni Batavorum] : Ex typographeio [Danielis à Gaesbeeck] 1679, (xx), 157 [i.e. 167], (xi) Signatures: A-N8, Page nos. 147-156 repeated in numbering (as always). The fourth and fifth words of title proper are transliterated from Greek characters. Engraved device on title page.
(2) "Justinianaei de Stolatae Virginitatis jure, Lucubratio Academica," Lugduni in Batavis: Typis J. Lindani, 1680 223 (v) pp. Signatures: A-P8, Engraved device on title page.
(3) "De Fornicatione Cavenda Admonito. Sive Adhortatio ad Pudicitiam et Castitatem. Editio Nova & ab Autore correcta. Juxta Exemplar Londinense." [Amsterdam?], 1698 (Second Edition, Revised). 109 (iii) pp. Signatures: A-G8, Engraved device on title page.
Texts in Latin. Hadrian Beverland (c.1650-1712), was a Dutch philosopher, collector of erotica, and classical scholar of unusual bent (E.J. Dingwall described him as "one of the oddest scholars who ever added glosses to a classical text") who had a passion for the works of Petronius, Martial, Catullus and other of the less inhibited ancient authors. He is said to have begun work on his first book, "De Stolatae Virginitatis" when he was only 20 (although he did not attempt to publish it until about his thirtieth year) and to have been working on the manuscript of his great study of sex, prostitution and brothels in the ancient world, "De Prostibulis Vetereum," throughout his late twenties.
In 1678 Beverland reworked and expanded a chapter of the manuscript and published it anonymously under the title "Peccatum Originale" in Leiden. In this work Beverland argued, like Spinoza, that the Bible should be taken as allegory, and posited (in agreement with Agrippa and Robert Fludd), that the story of the Fall was actually about the discovery of sex by Adam and Eve. Original sin was in fact the human sex instinct. In what could be seen as a surprisingly modern outlook, Beverland argued that the urge for sexual pleasure was a universal human trait, found in all men and women, and that it's expression in any form was legitimate. He supported his proposition with a great number of quotations from Biblical and classical authors, many of whom were highly immodest and wrote openly about taboo subjects such as masturbation and what were then perceived as other "sexual abnormalities."
Apparently dissatisfied with some aspect of the first edition of the book, Beverland published a second edition with his name boldly above the titel, "De Peccato Originalit." This is the first of the three books contained in the volume here described.
A complaint was made against the book, and Beverland was imprisoned and tried before an academic tribunal. The work was said to be "abominable and scandalous" and "an abortion from depraved brains," and its author was banished for life from Holland and West Friesland. Copies of the work were publicly burned, and the author was driven from the Leiden, the Hague, and Utrecht. In 1680 Beverland published his "Justinianaei de
Stolatae Virginitatis Jure, Lucubratio Academica," ("The Law Concerning Draped Virginity: An Academical Study"). This is the second book in the present volume. It is, to put it mildly, an uninhibited study, again drawing from classical studies, of virginity, its loss, the value placed upon it, seduction, female sexuality in general, etc. etc. It has gone on to be considered as a classic of erotic literature, as evidenced by an inclusion of an English translation of it "for private circulation amongst students of philology and anthropology and adult collectors of literary curiosities only" by the famous Paris based English language publisher of erotic, Charles Carrington, in 1905.
The third book in the volume is Beverland's "Fornicatione Cavenda." In this work Beverland publicly recanted his libertine ways and blasphemous views, and even called for the return of earlier manuscripts of his so that he might burn them himself. However he was from the outset widely suspected of being disingenuous, and many suggested that this supposed work on ways "to avoid fornication" and develop a pure and chaste lifestyle, was simply a way of drawing attention to his other writings, whilst at the same time revisiting a wide variety of salacious and perverse subjects, this time under the guise of disapproval.
Following his effective expulsion from Holland, Beverland moved to England, where he spent the rest of his life compiling more dubious works and petitioning unsuccessfully for his freedom. Biographers say that he developed a sort of persecution mania, which expressed itself in a series of increasingly bizarre letters and pamphlets in which he pleaded his case. He is buried in the churchyard of St Paul's, Covent Garden.
Both "De Peccato Originali" and "De Stolatae Virginitatis" are extremely rare, with "Fornicatione Cavenda" at best uncommon. To find the three works together, in what is clearly a contemporary binding, is a real delight. The binding itself is solid, with just a little surface wear. Ex Libris of R.W. Lamb (with angelic figure and "Nubem Sol Oriens Retundat") on front pastedown. Beautifully written and interesting nineteenth century owner's note on the contents of the volume on recto of first blank. Neat, again beautifully penned, eighteenth century list of the titles of the three books, on the verso of the second blank, facing the title page. Text clean and unmarked. A very attractive copy of a truly rare collection. Item #38723