Paris, Charles Gosselin, Furne et Cie, 1841.
Large 8vo [257 x 163 mm] of (2) ll., xl pp., 424 pp. 1 frontispiece and 11 engravings out of pagination protected by captioned silky papers. Bound in red half-shagreen, spine ribbed and finely decorated. Contemporary binding.
First illustrated edition of this “major work” (Carteret) by Lamartine.
“Woodcut vignettes in the text. There are also 10 frontispiece-titles included in the pagination. The work has been published in 25 issues at 50 cent.: the 1st one listed in the Bibliogr. De la France of December 19th, 1840.” (Vicaire, IV, 977)
“Beautiful illustration, well printed work; rare in fine condition” (Carteret, III, 366).
“The printed silky papers are often missing” (Clouzot, 178).
“Poem by Alphonse de Lamartine published in 1836. Willing to better define the grace and the gentleness of the feelings his youth poems are marked by, Lamartine tried to specify them by devoting himself to a more subjective lyricism: this desire found its outcome in ‘Jocelyn’ as well as in ‘La chute d’un ange’. ‘Jocelyn’’s hero was actually the abbot Dumont, a friend of the author, who became a priest in order to protect his sister’s happiness. However he got to find peace and reasons to live in his sacrifice. The hardest test he had to live was the tender love he got for the young Laurence. To this point he succeeded intro triumphing from himself and, finally, with a trembling but determined heart, he begs the dying young girl, for God’s forgiveness. A candid optimism is present in the entire work, which is a hymn to hope, to kindness, to beauty. The descriptions are fluid, like coming from a dream, more musical than picturesque. What is appreciated in ‘Jocelyn’, is the abundance of poetry and we quickly forget the symbolic and philosophical epic of which it should have been an episode. Besides, only one other episode was composed by Lamartine: ‘La chute d’un ange’, published in 1838.” (Dictionnaire des Œuvres, III, 820).
A precious copy offered by the author to Célestine Blondel, the childhood friend of his daughter Julia, bearing this particularly moving signed handwritten dedication on the verso of the engraved frontispiece:
« Offert à Mademoiselle Célestine Blondel, en souvenir des bontés qu’elle a eu pour son amie intime ma pauvre Julia.
A. De Lamartine.
Le 12 septembre 1848. »
Julia, Lamartine’s daughter was born in May 1822, in Mâcon.
In 1832, at 42, Lamartine lost the elections, his only daughter Julia is deeply sick, she’s 10; he realizes an old dream: a travel to the East. “I was born an Oriental and will die as one” will he write later. In July, he embarks in Marseille on the Alceste and arrives in Beirut in September. He visits Christ’s tomb on the Holy Land. On December 7th, 1832, Julia, his daughter, dies in Beirut, she is ten and a half. Ten years after his son Alphonse’s death, three years after his mother’s death, Lamartine is again struck by grief. His religious faith vacillates. He “screams” his pain, his despair, and his revolt against God in Gethsémani, ou la mort de Julia. These poems composed in 1833 and 1834 will be published in 1835 in Voyage en Orient.
The journey lasted a little over a year. Julia’s death shortened it: Lamartine renounces to visit Egypt. He is a romantic prince who travels, he is a mourning and ruined man who comes home. He writes his Voyage, at the same time as Jocelyn, to forget his grief.
Célestine Blondel was a close friend to his daughter Julia. When Lamartine dedicates his book, in 1848, she is 23 and is married. The dedication of the poet to « [his] poor Julia’s close friend » 16 years after the death of the little girl, is particularly moving. It shows how much the poet was attached to his child and proves that he never really was able to grieve from his loss. This dedication also shows that Lamartine has remained close to his daughter’s childhood friend, even 16 years after her death.
A precious and moving copy dedicated by the author to his deceased daughter’s close friend.