Tome premier [-douzième].Paris: Eugène et Victor Penaud Frères, 1849-50 Stock Code: 147515
First edition, first printing, of this acclaimed masterpiece of 19th-century French literature. This copy, complete with the address to the reader ("avertissement"), the list of subscribers, and Chateaubriand's letter to H.-L. Delloye, is in the original wrappers and rare thus, especially in such excellent condition.
Written between 1809 and 1841, Chateaubriand's Mémoires provide excellent accounts of the late 18th and early 19th-century life in rural France and especially in Brittany where the author grew up, his time in Paris, the uproar of the French Revolution which led him to move to America, his encounters with indigenous people, and his return to Europe with his appointment at the French embassy of Rome by Napoleon for whom Chateaubriand felt both admiration and distrust. Published posthumously between January 1849 and July 1850, the Mémoires were a commercial flop upon release; although delayed until the end of the 19th century, their enormous success ensured their lasting place as a major work of French literature.
Delloye was the founder of the subscribers' society onto whom Chateaubriand had passed the rights to his manuscript: "Dieu aidant, le reste ira bien, et j'espère que ni vous ni les actionnaires, dans un temps donné, n'auront à regretter d'être devenus les propriétaires de mes Mémoires" With God's help all will be well, and I hope that neither you nor the shareholders, in a given time, will have to regret becoming the owners of my Mémoires.
12 volumes, large octavo. Original cream wrappers lettered in black, untrimmed. Housed in six custom varnished wooden slipcases.
Slight wear to extremities, faint water stains to spines, spines of vols. 1-4 and 12 darkened, the bindings otherwise sound and fresh, a hint of foxing to a couple of leaves, else internally crisp; a superb set.
Vicaire II, p. 290.
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