Chateaubriand.Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1912 Stock Code: 142134
First edition, Henry James's copy given to him by his friend Edith Wharton, with James's inscription on the half-title "Henry James from E.W. May, 1912"; a superb association copy between two great novelists and longstanding friends, both of whom shared a profound relationship to Paris and French literature. James appears to have read this copy thoroughly, as evidenced by intensive markings and folded-over pages, and three pencil annotations (p.16, p.36, and p.321). In a letter dated 12 May 1912, James wrote to Wharton to thank her for a package containing two books, one of which being this Chateaubriand.
James and Wharton were friends from early days, with James memorably describing The Mount, Wharton's glittering Massachusetts estate where she entertained the American literary elite, as "a delicate French chateau mirrored in a Massachusetts pond". After her marriage broke down she was a permanent resident in Paris, even staying there during the war and raising money for the French war effort. Her charitable anthology The Book of the Homeless (1916) included a piece from Henry James, "The Long Wards". James's relationship with France was even longer-established, travelling there frequently from the 1850s and finding himself more at home speaking French, through which he escaped the stutter that plagued him speaking his native English. He lived between Paris and London for the rest of his life, and in Paris met many great French writers including Maupassant and Zola.
Octavo (171 x 109 mm). Contemporary red half morocco, spine lettered in gilt, mottled sides, marbled endpapers, brown speckled edges. Housed in a custom brown half morocco box.
Expert repair to joints, light rubbing to boards and extremities; a very good copy.
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