NOUVELLES AMOUREUSES ET EXEMPLAIRES Traduitres de l'Espagnol [by Claude Vanel] in 5 volumes.
Paris: G. Quinet, 1680. First Complete Edition in French 16mo, pp. , 323; , 336; , 297;  283;  226. Printed with woodcut initials and head pieces. Bound in contemporary calf, with modern rebacking, blank marginal tears to three leaves in volume 1 (without any loss of text]. Includes the stamp of the Netherby Library on the title pages, with the ownership signature of one of the baronets Graham of Netherby, Cumberland. Two volumes have the ownership signatures of "Su Fletchers Booke" and the same hand has copied two speeches from the tragedy Roland by Philippe Quinault (1635-1688). This is the first complete edition in French (this was preceeded by a partial edition of six novels, translated by Antoine de Methel and published in 1656 (Palau 379922). Then in 1651 and 1661, French novelist and playright Paul Scarron (1610-1660) borrowed the theme of three of the novels in his Roman Comique and his Nouvelles tragi-comiques. This first complete translation is quite rare, Northwestern and a UC Santa Barbara have just volumes 1 & 2, while the only complete set seems to be at the Library of Congress. Palau 379924; Cioranescu 65450. (Item ID: 53865)
Wilson notes: The life of Maria de Zayas (1590-1669) is wrapped in mystery. Her father was a Captain in the infantry and a member of the military order of Santiago, thus she belonged to a distinguished Spanish family ... We do know that she played an active part in the cultural life of Madrid, participating in literary academies and gatherings, writing encomiastic poems for her friends, and receiving high praise from such luminaries as Lope de Vega and Perez de Montalban. Did she marry? Bear children? We do not know. But her stories disclose a strong personality, exceptionally sensitive to the effects of passion and the cruel and unjust treatment of women ... While untilizing the conventional tale of ... love and honor lost, she turned escapist literature into a serious critique of counter-reformation values. Her feminist voice of dissent contrasts sharply with more conformist, less daring narrations of Mariana de Carvajal... In her stories, women are guilty even when innocent, and punishment is extreme. Women are murdered, beaten, drained of their blood, even walled up to die an agonizingly protracted living death ... Thus Zayas circumvents the cultural code, subverting it, even, as she imaginatively and dramatically exploits belief in the same code.[Wilson, An Encyclopedia of Continental Women Writers, pp. 1373-1374." An ardent feminist, Zayas notes in the prologue of the original Spanish collection: "The real reason why women are not learned is not a defect in intelligence but a lack of opportunity. When our parents bring us up if, instead of putting cambric on our sewing cushions and patterns in our embroidery frames, they gave us books and teachers, we would be as fit as men for any job or university professorship. We might even be sharper because we're of a colder humor and intelligence partakes of the damp humor "[Translation H. Patsy Boyer). It is interesting to note that Zayas El Prevenido Enganado (the first story in vol. 2) provided the theme for Moliere's well-known play, "L'Ecole des Femmes."