London: Henry Rhodes, 1687. Octavo, (viii), 140, (iv), 206, (ii). Engraved frontispiece by F. H. van Hove. First complete edition in English, translated by Archibald Lovell. Cyrano was influenced by the revolutionary ideas of Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. He created utopian societies to illustrate the satirical points of his political treatise. Several of these fantasy societies were to influence Swift fifty years later. One of the more remarkable passages in the book appears on pages 121-122 of Part One, in which Cyrano describes a machine which seems virtually identical to an iPod: “It was a Book, indeed; but a Strange and Wonderful Book, that had neither Leaves nor Letters: In fine, it was a Book, made wholly for the Ears, and not the Eyes. So that when any Body has a mind to read in it, he winds up that Machine, with a great many little Springs; then he turns the Hand to the Chapter which he desires to hear, and straight, as from the Mouth of a Man, or a musical Instrument, proceed all the distinct and different Sounds.” This is a fine copy in a contemporary calf binding, blind-stamped on the boards and gilt-stamped on the spine. The binding has been skillfully rebacked, preserving the original spine. Contemporary owner’s signature on front free endpaper; bookplate to front paste-down. One of the most important precursors to the science fiction canon. Item #18513
(Barron 1-12; Wing C7717).