Paris, Baudry, Libraire-Editeur, 1844.
8 parts in 4 8vo volumes [207 x 129 mm]: I/ (2) ll., 349 pp. (wrongly numbered 449), (1) l. of table ; (2) ll., 329 pp., (1) l. of table ; II/ (2) ll., 386 pp., (1) l. of table ; (2) ll., 363 pp., table at the back of p. 363; III/ (2) ll., 310 pp., (1) l. of table ; (2) ll., 287 pp., (1) p. of table ; IV/ (2) ll., 297 pp., (1) l. of table ; (2) ll., 329 pp, (1) l. of table.
Blue half-calf, ribbed spines decorated with gilt fillets, marbled paper covers, mottled edges. Elegant contemporary binding.
The First edition of “The three musketeers appears as an unequalled masterpiece and remains one of the most widely read book in the whole world” (Dictionnaire des Œuvres).
Vicaire, III, 359-360 ; Carteret, I, 235.
“Rare and very sought-after. Extremely rare in beautiful contemporary condition, reaches very high prices.” (Marcel Clouzot, Guide du Bibliophile français).
“The heroes of these adventures are four gentlemen, inseparable friends, Louis XIII’s musketeers: Athos, actually count de la Fère, has been ruined by a tragic marriage with an adventurer woman; he became a musketeer as a last resort, he has a romantic, noble and haughty soul; Porthos, whose real name is du Vallon, is an easy-going conceited giant; Aramis, or the knight d’Herblay, torn from his religious vocation by a gallant adventure, continuously fluctuates between a vague mysticism, a typical Jesuit dexterity for intrigues, secret and very aristocratic loves, and a bravery full of passion. To the first three companions is joining D’Artagnan, a brave and crafty Gascon coming from his native province, endowed with the craziest ambitions and small savings; he becomes the hero of the story.”
The skillfulness with which the work is led is not to be found in any other of the kind.
Next to the serial novel that just appeared with the Mysteries of Paris by Eugène Sue, Alexandre Dumas created a new genre by using the appeal that the history of France had towards the public and by taking advantage of the publication of chronicles and memoirs undertaken after the large movement that French modern history had created at the beginning of the 19th century. Founder of this genre, Dumas was meant to remain his model.
Remarkable copy, one of the most beautiful known, with wide margins (height : 207 mm), very pure, unwashed and without any foxing, preserved in its elegant and beautiful bindings in its contemporary blue half calf.
Provenance: Robert Von Hirsch, sold in Paris 40 years ago (Paris, June 12th 1978, n° 88).