Les Contes Bleus.Paris, Louis Janet, [c.1830] Stock Code: 125728
NotesFirst edition, uncommon complete as here, of this charming set of instructive tales for children by the French bluestocking Alida de Savignac (1790-1847). Volume I comprises three stories, each bound separately: La Petite Malade imaginaire; Juliette à Rome, ou les histoires du temps passé; and Camille. Volume II is divided identically: La Veillée; Chacune son défaut; and Lettres de Juliette à Marguerite. OCLC locates just two complete sets, at the BnF and the Morgan.
Savignac was a strong advocate of women's education and a prolific journalist who contributed regularly to publications which explicitly celebrated women's writing, such as the Journal des dames and the Journal des femmes. She was "the perfect embodiment of how education could allow a woman to maintain her social position. From a middle-class family, her father, an officer in the Royal Navy, died when she was fourteen, and she fell on hard times. However, she was able to maintain her social status as one of the founders, along with Jeanne-Justine Fouqueau, of the Journal des demoiselles, for which she also wrote travel narratives (récits de voyages). In her reviews, Savignac advised her young readers to admire women artists and take them as role models: she also encouraged them to attend the Salon" (Chagnon-Burke, p. 131). Such journals, Savignac argued, proved that demand for women writers was growing, and that women "no longer needed to hide behind the masculine name whereas men 'do us the honour of disguising themselves as women'" (quoted in Morgan, p. 220).
2 volumes bound in 6 as issued, trigesimo-secundo. Original pink moiré-effect paper-covered boards housed in two side-by-side compartments in the tray-lid box of issue, the lid with mounted hand-coloured mezzotint illustration of a ruined castle within a hand-painted border of animals on a background of intertwined trees and flowers, en grisaille on black paper, top of the lid and tray edged with gilt embossed frieze of cherubs and acanthus, pale cream silk ribbon "lifters" intact.
Each volume with a vividly hand-coloured engraved frontispiece, tissue guards present, one of them after Colin, one after Westall.
Light wear to extremities of volumes; box a little worn with rubbed corners, one corner professionally repaired after split, lid professionally relined and internally repaired at corners. Remains highly attractive and in very good condition.
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