8vo [167 x 107 mm] of (2) ll., 337 pp. Red half-shagreen, ribbed spine decorated with gilt fleurons, mottled edges. Contemporary binding.
Rare first French edition of this remarkable novel by Turgenev, first published in St Petersburg a few months earlier.
Carteret, II, 404 ; Boutchik, n°58.
“The first edition of this book is dated from 1868” (Vicaire, IV, p. 876).
“Turgenev, Ivan Sergeyevich, born on October 28, 1818 in Oryol, died on August 22, 1883 in Bougival. Three years older than Dostoyevsky, ten years older than Tolstoy, Turgenev is the most westerner of the three great novelists who made Russian literature’s glory during the second half of the 19th century […] He published in 1867 a novel, ‘Smoke’, which completes to burn the bridges between Russia and himself, alienating him this time the Right wing opinion. […] The last years of Turgenev’s life, deprived of home, homeland, or belief, were softened by the rays of fame. In 1875, at the International Congress of literature in Paris, he is elected vice-president and sits alongside Victor Hugo. His speech on Russian literature achieved great success. […] Turgenev is the only Russian writer who was able to claim a large Western audience during his lifetime.”
Dictionnaire des Auteurs, IV, pp. 531-532.
“Smoke is a typical work of Turgenev, both by the graceful and fresh aspect of the nature descriptions, and by the richness of detail in the description of backgrounds and characters, with the exception of Potouguin who is in a way the author’s spokesman. The action develops almost exclusively outside Russian, in Baden-Baden, where is reunited the finest of the outside international world, but where we also meet the most extravagant people, especially in the Russian colony […] The satire that permeates the story keeps all its interest, especially as regards to the picturing of Russians life in Baden-Baden, fresco in which it is easy to find many personal memories of the author. This work, which satire is quite sharp, induced, at the time, the indignation of the entire Russian audience.”
Dictionnaire des Œuvres, III, p.196.
Precious copy preserved in its elegant contemporary binding.
Provenance: from the library of the painter and novelist Gustave Droz (with handwritten ex-libris)
Localization of the copies among French public institutions: Moulins, Amiens, Canteleu, Compiègne and the National Library