Paris, Bibliothèque-Charpentier, 1894-1898.
Paris, Bibliothèque-Charpentier, 1894.
12mo of (2) ll., 598 pp., (1) l.
Paris, Bibliothèque-Charpentier, 1896.
12mo of (2) ll., 751 pp., (1) p.
Paris, Bibliothèque-Charpentier, 1898.
12mo of (2) ll., 608 pp. Tiny paper sticked on pp. 147 to 157.
3 volumes 12mo [191 x 122 mm.], lavallière morocco, gilt fillets and red, yellow or blue fillets around the covers, spines decorated the same way, gilt over untrimmed edges, printed yellow wrappers and spines bound in. Wrapper of Rome foxed. Cases. Semet & Plumelle.
Exceptional set of these three novels in first editions and deluxe issues on colored papers, an issue not recorded by bibliographers.
Carteret, II, 492-493 ; Rahir, La Bibliothèque de l’amateur, 686 ; Dictionnaire des Œuvres, VI, 550.
Lourdes is one of 5 copies printed on blue paper.
The issue was limited to 393 copies : 348 on Dutch paper, 40 on Japanese vellum, 5 on blue paper.
Rome: copy printed on yellow China paper, unknown to bibliographers. The issue recorded by bibliographers was limited to 330 copies, including 300 on Dutch paper and 30 on Japanese vellum. No bibliographer ever mentioned this copy on yellow China paper.
Paris: copy printed on red paper, unknown to bibliographers.
The issue recorded by bibliographers was limited to 330 copies, including 300 on Dutch paper and 30 on Japanese vellum. No bibliographer has ever heard of this copy on red paper.
« Les Trois Villes » are the trilogy by Emile Zola (1840-1902) including « Lourdes » (1894), « Rome » (1896), « Paris » (1898). The Rougon-Macquart are not even finished that the novelist, who made a short trip to Lourdes in September1891, has the idea to fight on his detractors’ field : revival of faith. He wants to « establish the religious, philosophical and social evaluation of the century. » The crisis in which the abbey Pierre Froment goes through serves as guideline for the three works.
Pierre has become a priest to obey his mother’s will after his father’s death during a laboratory experience. But he began to doubt. Thus, he left for London with the annual pilgrimage, to get his faith back. He accompanied young Marie de Guersaint, which he has loved years before, but who has been condemned to immobility because of a mysterious illness. Marie is miraculously cured. Her pain, actually, was due to hysteria. Pierre doesn’t recover his faith. He can’t either get back to Marie since she has decided to stay a virgin if she was cured. Thus he has to stay a priest, but he imagines a new religion, closer to mankind, « making a bigger place to earth, adapted to conquered truths ». Work of pity and emotions, divided into five days, the five days that the national pilgrimage dedicates to its annual trip. « Lourdes » pictures the pilgrims, their faith, the « need for supernatural in human » despite scientific conquests, Bernadette’s figure, but also the swindles of healing, time sellers. It is the work of a true man, questioning himself through his character to the crisis that the epoch is going through.
Pierre has written a book, La Rome nouvelle, in which he stands for this religion of which he has the idea in the train that was taking him from Lourdes to Paris, a religion that will recover virtues of primitive Christianity. But his work was banned by the Congregation of the Index. So he came to Rome to argue his case in front of the Holy-Father, but he was never received, he is confronted to retrograde and timorous Church, he gets lost in the labyrinth of administration and hierarchy.
Back to Paris, he meets up with his brother, Guillaume, who he had lost contact with. Thanks to his moral and material help, he gives up the priest robe, gets married and has children, finds his confidence in life and the future back, believes in the possibility of a new society based on scientific progresses. Awaiting this arise, « Paris » makes a very dark evaluation, shows the man crushed by the cogs of a huge, impersonal, unfair society, that is ready to explode. Dense, anxious work, it is a strong protestation « against every powers of lie and servitude » (Jaurès).
Exceptional copy gathering these three novels in deluxe issues on colored paper, preserved in their luxurious uniform bindings by Semet and PLumelle, each one decorated with a morocco fillet matching the color of the paper of the copy bound.