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New York Coward-McCann 1963 First American Edition Very Good Very Good- 
212 pp, 8vo (8 3/4" H). B&w plates. "(A) biography of a brilliant and impudent man living in eighteenth-century France: Caron de Beaumarchais. It was a life of fantastic adventure. Inventor, secret agent, politician, courtier, publisher and supplier of arms to the American colonies, Beaumarchais also wrote plays. Music lovers enchanted by Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro" and Rossini's 'The Barber of Seville' remember that they are based on the brilliant comedies of Beaumarchais. Born Pierre Caron in 1732, Beaumarchais was the son of a prosperous Parisian clockmaker. As a child, he was apprenticed to his father, became fairly famous in the field of watchmaking and invented several new and complicated devices. He soon found wider scope by buying an appointment at the Court of Louis XV, where he swiftly rose to the highest favor. The King sent him on a secret mission to Madrid, and he returned to find himself accused of forgery and embezzlement. He became emeshed in a series of legal actions in which he fought vigorously to maintain his honor. Louis XV, meanwhile, sent him secretly to London to stop a blackmailer from publishing scandal about the royal mistress, Madame du Barry. The next King, Louis XVI, gave him two similar missions; the first, to smother a scurrilous attempt to libel Marie-Antoinette, took him to London, Amsterdam and Vienna; the second, to recover some papers of the late King which were of explosive importance, involved him in London with the extraordinary Chevalier d'Eon, a secret agent who, on occasion, wore female dress and was widely (but wrongly) believed to be a woman. While in England, Beaumarchais allied himself with the cause of the American colonies; and when Louis XVI refused to aid the rebels openly, (he) organized a private firm to supply them with arms and munitions as well as ships, with astonishing results. Meanwhile, his play 'The Barber of Seville' had been acclaimed and its sequel, 'The Marriage of Figaro', so audaciously mocked the Government that for five years the King forbade its performance. But when public readings spread its fame, and when the ban was reluctantly lifted, all Paris fought to see it. When the Revolution broke out, Beaumarchais witnessed the storming of the Bastille. In 1792 false rumors caused an hysterical mob to invade his ostentatious mansion; he escaped to a friend's house. Later he was arrested, released through influence of a woman, and after further adventures he found himself a proscribed refugee in Hamburg. He returned to France in 1796 and died there three years later." A few small faint foxing marks on free endpapers, light wrinkling at top/ bottom of spine, very small dint at top edge of front board, tiny foxing marks at edges of illustration pages. Dust jacket has been price clipped, has light edge wear/wrinkling/creasing - mainly at top/bottom of spine and flap-folds, tiny closed tears at bottom of spine and on rear hinge, minor foxing on edges of flaps. 
Price: 15.00 USD

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