[CATS] DE MONCRIF, Francois Augustin Paradis de (author). Reginald BRETNOR (translator). Moncrif's Cats. Les Chats de Francois Augustin Paradis de Moncrif. London; The Golden Cockerel Press. 1961
4to., Navy blue cloth-backed vertically-striped red and blue cloth boards, with gilt roundel to upper cover and gilt lettering to spine, lower edges untrimmed; pp. [iv], 5-187; title-page in red and black, a genealogy on one folded leaf, and 10 collotype reproductions of illustrations by Coypel from the edition of 1727, printed in monochrome; just a touch of rubbing to gilt device to upper cover, otherwise fine and uninscribed.
First edition thus, one of only 400 numbered copies, set in Gill's Perpetua type, and printed on Saunders mould-made paper at The Chiswick Press Of this 400, 100 special copies were bound in morocco by E.W. Hiscox.
Moncrif (1687-1770) was a French writer, courtier, and academician now best known for his Histoire des Chats, first published in 1727. In letter form, Moncrif discusses the role of cats throughout history and his work can be read both as a satire of pedantic academic writing and a sincere tribute to the domesticated feline. "Let us calm ourselves ... one day we shall see the merits of Cats generally recognized. It is impossible that we should not come to feel that in our Cat we possess a friend who is the best of company, an admirable Pantomimist, a born Astrologer, a perfect Musician, in short the union of the talents & the graces" (p. 104-5).