LAS CASES, Emmanuel, comte de. Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène, ou Journal où se trouve consigné, jour par jour, ce qu’a dit et fait Napoléon durant dix-huit mois. Paris, the author, 1823. 8 volumes.
[Followed by:] [GRILLE & MUSSET-PATHAY]. Suite au Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène, ou observations critiques, anecdotes inédites pour servir de supplément et de correctif à cet ouvrage ; contenant un récit authentique de faits, de documents, un manuscrit inédit de Napoléon, les six derniers mois du gouvernement impérial, et l’exposé des causes qui contribuèrent à sa chute, etc. Paris, Raynal et Roret, 1824-1825. 2 volumes.
In all 10 volumes 8vo [200 x 127 mm], 1 plan, 2 folding maps and the author’s portrait. Bound in granite-like full calf, gilt border on covers, flat spines finely decorated with gilt patterns, light-brown morocco spine labels, yellow mottled edges. Uniform contemporary bindings.
First edition of the Memorial de Sainte-Hélène completed with the second edition of its continuation.
The illustration in the first issue includes the plan of the Longwood house and 2 folding maps representing the Italian campaign and St Helena island. Besides, the continuation is illustrated with Las Cases’ portrait in frontispiece.
According to Carteret, these Memoirs are « of the utmost interest, worldwide famous and appreciated, to seek in contemporary binding. » (II, 36)
The Memorial, since its publication, had a great success and exerted a significantly political influence.
« After Napoleon’s death and on the strength of Las Cases’ accounts, we started believing in the democratic and liberal Napoleon, son of the Revolution he depicted, in accordance with his master’s will. It is partly from the Mémorial that came out the revival of the Napoleonic feeling which was to reach its peak with the Retour des Cendres and find its epilogue with the coming to power of Napoleon III. But the Mémorial not only provoked a political movement. He had an influence on the birth of extremely important literary works: it is from this generation confused by his fall, of which he said: “What a youth I let after me!”, that was to come out different works such as the Confession d’un enfant du siècle and le Rouge et le Noir; it is the reading of the ‘Mémorial’ which gave Goethe the idea of ‘Conversations avec Eckerman’. It should also be stated that Las Cases’ testimony can now be completed with the ‘Journal de Gourgaud’ and with the ‘Journal du grand maréchal Bertrand’ that was published under the title of ‘Cahiers de Sainte-Hélène’ (1816-1821) ».
A very beautiful copy gathering the Mémorial and its continuation, uniformly bound in contemporary granite-like calf, a rare condition for this work that is, as emphasizes Clouzot, « except for exceptional cases, very simply contemporary bound: half-roan or half-calf. The full bindings, not frequent, are in roan, rarely in calf. »