SÉGUR, Philippe-Paul, comte de.

1812 - 1912: Napoléon.

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Paris: Ernest Flammarion, 1912 Stock Code: 139463

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A lavishly produced edition of Ségur's "influential history of the Russian campaign" (Sandler) published to mark the centenary, originally issued in 1824 as Histoire de Napoléon et de la grande armée pendant l'année 1812. Ségur took part in the campaign as a general of brigade. The unfavourable portrait of Napoleon given in this book provoked representations from General Gourgaud, and eventually a duel, in which Ségur was wounded. Adam Zamoyski, in his celebrated account of Napoleon's invasion of Russia, recounts that Ségur sought a "metaphysical explanation" for the stoicism of the French soldier during the terrible retreat, "They should have blamed Napoleon but they did not because he belonged to them as much as they to him, he argued. His glory was their common property, and to diminish his reputation by denouncing him would have been to destroy the common fund of glory that had built up over the years and which was their most prized possession" (1812: Napoleon's Fatal March of Moscow, 2004, p.456).

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Quarto (370 x 270 mm). Contemporary moderate blue morocco by Otto Schulze & Co. of Edinburgh, spine gilt lettered direct, single and paired gilt fillet panels to compartments, sides and corners trimmed with broad gilt fillets, French grey cloth sides in imitation of moiré silk, top edge gilt, marbled endpapers; with the original front wrapper bound-in at the end.


Colour portrait frontispiece of Napoleon, 54 colour and two other plates, all tipped to grey heavy stock textured paper leaves.


Attractive period bookplate of John R. Menzies, of John Menzies national newsagents, signed with the monogram "N" (possibly the illustrator Edmund H. New). Joints and extremities a little chafed, a few light abrasions to back cover, recent presentation inscription to a preliminary blank. A most handsome copy.


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