Paris: A. Lahure, 1925. First Edition. Octavo (24.5cm). Printed thick-paper wrappers; xvi,99,(2)pp. Wrappers slightly toned at margins and on backstrip, else a tight, Near Fine copy.
Translation of the 12th-century epic into Modern French, with facing Old-French text, by the distinguished African-American scholar, educator and civil rights activist Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858-1964). Cooper, born into slavery in 1858, was educated at Oberlin and went on to become only the fourth African-American woman to be awarded a Ph.D. (which she received from the University of Paris-Sorbonne at the age of 67). The current work was originally written in the course of Cooper's graduate studies at Columbia, which she never completed; it was later presented as a doctoral thesis to the Sorbonne, but rejected, at which point Cooper had it privately published in Paris.
This is the sole edition, though Cooper did attempt to have the work re-published by her alma mater Oberlin – a project that was quashed after one editorial reader dismissed the translation as "really pretty bad" (though there is evidence that racial prejudice may have played a role; see essay by Katherine Shilton, “This Scholarly and Colored Alumna: Anna Julia Cooper’s Troubled Relationship with Oberlin College" (2003); published on-line: http://www2.oberlin.edu/external/EOG/History322/AnnaJuliaCooper/AnnaJuliaCooper.htm).