CAMUS, Albert - WILDE, Oscar.

La Ballade de la Geôle de Reading.

Nouvelle traduction française de Jacques Bour. L'Artiste en prison d'Albert Camus.

[Paris]: Falaize, [1952] Stock Code: 143345
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An out-of-series copy, inscribed by Camus

First edition thus, first printing, out-of-series presentation copy, inscribed by Camus on the title page of "L'artiste en prison" "A Sylvestre, en souvenir d'Iguape, et avec l'amicale pensée d'Albert Camus" ("to Sylvestre, in memory of Iguape and with the amicable thought of Albert Camus"), and with the two corrections in his hand on pp. 19 and 21.

An evocative association: the recipient, Paul Sylvestre, was French cultural attaché in São Paulo, and accompanied Camus while on his visit to Brazil in August 1949. It was on an expedition to Igaupe, at the Fonte do Senior park, that Camus first heard of the legend of "The Growing Stone", which was to be the germ for the eponymous final story in his collection Exile and the Kingdom (1958, first published in 1957 as L'Exil et le Royaume). Camus won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957, and the committee cited his "clear-sighted earnestness which illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times".

This is the first appearance in print of Albert Camus's essay "L'artiste en prison", an ode to Wilde and a defence of the condemned: "the genius is he who creates to honour, in the eyes of all and his own, the last of the wretches in the heart of the darkest prison". The essay, which was translated into English and published in Encounter magazine two years later, prefaces this bilingual French translation by Jacques Bours of The Ballad of Reading Gaol, printed facing the English text from the first edition.

This copy is unnumbered, one of 2,950 copies on alfa mousse, from a total edition of 3,000.

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Small octavo. Original red folding wrappers, titles printed in black to spine and front cover, edges untrimmed.


Very faint sunning to spine, extremities a touch rubbed, internally crisp; a near-fine copy.


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