Viage d’el Mundo de Descartes

Viage d’el Mundo de Descartes is a printed Spanish translation of the 1691 publication Voiage du Monde de Descartes (A Voyage to the World of Cartesius) by French historian Gabriel Daniel. The work itself is meant to oppose ideas presented by Descartes while also attempting to make sense of the points where Descartes departed from the Christian dogma that Daniel believed. The story is sometimes considered a part of the science-fiction genre because of the narrator’s imagined trip to the moon, planets, and outer space. Don Juan Gregorio Araujo translated the work and Nicolas Joseph Villargordo printed this version in Salamanca, Spain in 1742. Demand for a translation of Daniel's work likely motivated Araujuo and Villargordo to produce this edition.


This is the title page of the book with some damage to the page. The lack of a cover, unfortunately, means a lack of protection and exposes the pages to outside elements. Luckily, it is now housed in a proper manner and is less likely to be utterly lost to time! The information contained on this page includes the title of the novel, the original author (Gabriel Daniel), the translator ( Don Juan Gregorio Araujo), and the publication information.  Very similar to modern-day books!


The lack of a cover, while unfortunate, does allow for a glimpse at the way the book was bound. The strings and remnants of glue are clearly visible to the viewer. Interestingly, the glue also indicates that the book once had a cover that has now been lost. The very curly string towards the top of the spine is called a headband and also provides evidence of a lost cover.


Imagine taking your old clothes and turning them into paper. That's exactly how the pages of this book were made. Very different from books today made out of trees, isn't it? And when the pages were ready for the text to be printed, a special thing was done to help the printers know what order the pages were to go in. The printers would place on the bottom of the right side of the page the first few letters or symbols from the top of the next page! This helped to ensure that when the pages were cut, everything would end up in the correct order.


Another aspect of this book is the evidence of bookworm damage throughout several pages. But this damage was not done by avid readers! From pages 5-97, there are varying degrees of damage caused by bookworms - from single holes to what appear to be trails in the pages, the evidence of the insects boring through the pages is abundant. The fact that the pages were made out of old rags did not stop those worms.


Also found in this translation are several points where the text is opened with quotation marks. The use of quotation marks was still being played with at the time of publication of this particular book and their use is to most likely indicate that something somewhere in the line is being quoted. Of course, this doesn’t make clear what, exactly, is being quoted within the line or perhaps the paragraph itself. The printers themselves were still figuring it all out so they can be cut some slack.