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[SAINTE-BEUVE, Charles Augustin.]

La Bruyère et La Rochefoucauld,

Mme de La [Fayette] et Mme de Longueville.

Published: Paris: Imprimerie de H. Fournier et Cie, 1842

Stock code: 90713

Price: £975

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First collected edition, first impression, presentation binding. Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve published his biographical portraits anonymously and for private circulation among his circle of friends. For rather obscure reasons he had second thoughts and destroyed most copies. It is said that he did not keep a copy for himself and that his bibliographer, Paul Chéron, a librarian the Bibliothèque Nationale, only became aware of its existence through a bookseller who had brought a copy back from England. From the library of French playwright Victorien Sardou (1831–1908), with the bookplate from his library at Château de Marly on the front pastedown. Sardou is the author of many popular 19th-century plays, including La Tosca, on which Puccini based his opera. Laid in are four early 20th-century bibliographical documents and press cuttings. A scarce title indeed, and even more so with such an association.

Octodecimo (174 x 114 mm). Fine presentation binding by S. David in black full levant morocco, spine in compartments with gilt titles direct, top edge gilt, turn-ins gilt with foliate tools and stars at corners, marbled endpapers, green silk bookmark. Early 20th-century press cutting and bookplate on one initial blank. Extremities lightly rubbed, binder’s blanks faintly dampstained, foxing throughout. An excellent copy.

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