Our shops are open and we are processing online, telephone and email orders as normal


De l'Amour.

Bandeaux, lettrines et cabochons dessinés spécialement par Aug. H. Thomas.

Paris: René Kieffer, Éditeur et Relieur d'Art, 1924 Stock Code: 145085
Reserve Ask us a question

Stendhal's great study of love, crystallized in a superb art deco Kieffer binding

First Kieffer edition, in a striking Kieffer binding, number 50 of 50 copies on japon, from an edition limited to 1050 copies only, of this art deco edition of Stendhal's great study of love, which was originally published in 1822.

In De l'Amour, known in English as On Love, Stendhal shared his concept of "crystallization" as "the process whereby the lover discovers new perfections in the beloved. This first crystallization is most often reinforced by a second one" (Schehr). An argument, however, can be made that "Stendhal's crystallization has mainly been read from the masculine subject position, however sympathetically... In the formula for crystallization, Stendhal counts five steps to the completeness of it, the fifth culminating in 'proof of love'. That is when the beloved, loaded with all the imaginary perfections with which he can endow her, grants him sexual access, le don de merci in courtly terms. This moment marks, of course, precisely when a negative crystallization begins - for her. Having 'given herself' as 'proof' of love to him, she finds that his final step is her first one into the state of the cruellest doubt (did he just use me?). Masculine and feminine positions within crystallization thus overlap only at this step and take opposing attitudes toward the same central experience" (MacCannell).

René Kieffer (1875-1964), worked for ten years at the famed Chambolle-Duru bindery in Paris before establishing his own workshop in 1903 and going on to become one of the leading binders in Paris. In 1909 he launched himself in the edition of illustrated luxury books. He learned the trade from Georges Crès, and from Auguste Blaizot who joined his name to the first editions of René Kieffer; even the Mercure de France entrusted him with the direction of some volumes for their own editions. From 1919 to 1923, he executed bindings designed by Pierre Legrain for Jacques Doucet, and his workshop quickly became important, producing up to 2,000 volumes a year, with bindings of all kinds, from the most luxurious to the more modest one. His bookshop opened in 1923, and his three activities were then combined in one place. Kieffer's consistent endeavour was to retain large, poorly published texts, have them illustrated by the great names of the time, and when possible, offer them in luxury or publisher's bindings.

Confused? Read our glossary


2 volumes, octavo (196 x 138 mm). Finely bound by René Kieffer (with his ticket to versos of front free endpapers) in green morocco preserving the original pink wrappers, art déco decorative motifs blocked in blind to boards and spine end compartments, titles in gilt direct to spine, marbled endpapers, white silk page markers, top edges gilt, others untrimmed.


Printed in black and blue.


Occasional light pencil marks. Joints sometime expertly and discreetly repaired and furbished, spines and edges sunned, the bindings otherwise sound and clean, internally fresh; an attractive set.


Juliet Flower MacCannell, "The Hysteric's Guide to the Future Female Subject", 2000, p. 310; Lawrence Schehr, "Rendering French Realism", 1997, p. 38.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book