PERRAULT, Charles Contes des Fées, par Ch. Perrault, de l’Académie française. Contenant Le Chaperon rouge, Les Fées, La Barbe Bleue, La Belle au Bois Dormant, Le Chat Botté, Cendrillon, Riquet à la Houpe, Le Petit Poucet, L’Adroite Princesse, Grisélidis, Peau d’Âne, Les Souhaits ridicules. Nouvelle édition, Dédiée à Son Altesse Sérénissime Mgr le Duc de Montpensier.


First collective and definitive edition of the Contes de Perrault “including, in addition to the previous one from 1742, Donkey Skin, in prose and verse’, Griselidis and The Ridiculous Wishes” (Brunet, IV, 508).

One of the most precious books of the 18th century. Over the last half-century, only one other copy on large paper also bound by Derome le jeune in morocco with dentelle – without mosaic patterns – appeared on the market.

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SKU: LCS-17766 Categories: ,

Paris, at Lamy, Bookseller, 1781.

2 volumes 12mo of 1 engraved frontispiece, xxxii pp., 279 pp.; 149 p. and 13 heading vignettes of which 9 are executed from the coppers of the 1742 edition. The vignettes of the second part alone bear an artist name and are signed by Martinet.Full dark green morocco, covers adorned with a wide gilt dentelle made up of five various frame borders and three fleurons in the corners, spines ribbed richly adorned with lettering pieces in red and citron morocco, doublures and guards of pink watered silk with inlay of gilt dentelle, front endpaper with framing of mosaics of light-brown morocco decorated with a gilt border, gilt edges. Luxury binding from the time of Derome the Younger in doubled and tripled decorated morocco with mosaic patterns.

176 x 100 mm.

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Rare and very “sought-after” (Tchemerzine) collective definitive first edition of the Contes de Perrault, also the first to be as complete, “including, in addition to the previous one from 1742, Donkey Skin, in prose and verse, Griselidis and The Ridiculous Wishes(Brunet, IV, 508).

Few copies of this work were printed in large format on Holland paper(Deschamps, II, 207).

Precious large format copy on Holland paper, here bound in two volumes.

Famous edition” (Deschamps – Supplément à Brunet, II, 207).

It contains:The Red Riding Hood, The Fairies, The Blue Beard, The Sleeping Beauty, The Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Riquet à La Houpe, Le Petit Poucet, The Adroit Princess, Grisélidis, Donkey Skin, Ridiculous wishes.

These tales define Charles Perrault as the creator of a literary genre, unknown before him, the one of the fairy tales. Written for children, those stories enchanted the contemporaries and were soon ranked as a masterpiece.

“From all that Perrault has written, nothing has helped him become famous more than a very small book to which he probably attached little importance himself. The idea came to him to collect the tales that children love so much to hear from the mouths of their mothers, their nurses, when they were wise. He published them in January 1697, under the name of his son Perrault d’Armancourt. Here are the terms in which Sainte-Beuve spoke of this little book: “Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Blue Beard, Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Ruffle with tassel, Marquise de Salusses and Petit Poucet, what else can we add to the title of these small masterpieces? We have discussed the question of whether Perrault is their real author. It is quite certain that for the content of these Tales, Perrault must have drawn from a fund of popular tradition, and that he only fixed in writing what, since time immemorial, all grandmothers have told. But its drafting is simple, current, of naive good faith, somewhat malicious, however, and light; it is such that everyone repeats it and thinks they have found it. The small final moralities in verse clearly smell Quinault’s friend and the Gallic contemporary of La Fontaine, but they only hold if we want to the story; they are their date.If I dared to return, with regard to these Children’s Tales, to the great Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns, I would say that Perrault provided an argument against himself there, because this wonderful and childish imagination fund necessarily belongs to an old and previous age; these things would no longer be invented today if they had not been imagined for a long time; they would not have taken place if they had not been received and believed long before us. We just vary and dress them up differently. There is therefore an age for certain fictions and certain happy credulities, and if the science of the human race is constantly increasing, its imagination does not flourish in the same way”.“But the origin of these tales must be sought even further. The tales relate to Berthe at the foot of the goose (the Queen Pedauque) – Berthe or Berchta, Germanic divinity. For the Grimm brothers, mythology survives in the ̔Nannies’ Talesʼ”.

Charles Nodier (1844) will be the first to detect “one of the most delightful productions of the French prose » and will place it amongst the greatest French literary works. The glory came during the 19th and 20th centuries and thanks to the constant admiration Perrault’s work inspires in the United States.

The number of comments and studies dedicated to him, the large number of republications, illustrations or film adaptations demonstrate the constant success and the huge international audience that places this work amongst the greatest universal literature works.

Charles Perrault (1628-1703) belongs to a family of great state clerk from the Parliament of Paris. As such, and like many of its members, it is strongly tinged with Jansenism. After studying law and some attempts at political versification at the time of the Fronde, he joined his older brother, a powerful Receiver General for finance in Paris. He joined the Colbert clan from 1663 and took advantage of his rise to organize with his brother Claude – the doctor – the superintendence of Buildings. Nominated for membership of the Académie Française in 1671, he found himself in charge of Colbert’s cultural policy, distributing prebends and graces. Perrault was dismissed by Louvois in 1683 and devoted himself to his work, which led to the famous outbreak of the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns. He became the hero of the Moderns during the famous public reading at the Academy of his Siècle de Louis XIV in 1687 and fell out with Racine and Boileau.

One of the most precious books of the 18th century. Over the last half-century, only one other copy on large paper also bound by Derome le jeune in morocco with dentelle – without mosaic patterns – appeared on the market.

With shorter margins (height of 170 mm compared to 176 mm here), it was sold FF 180 000 in Paris in June 1982 (≈ € 30 000 38 years ago) and sold for € 70 000 (FF 450 000) on 1st December 1997, by Maître Buffetaud, 23 years ago.

From the library of the countess de Behague.

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