Paris, Michel Lévy frères, 1864.
12mo [184 x 115 mm] of (2) ll. for the half-title and the title, 282 pp., (1) l. of table.
Full green morocco, double blind-stamped fillet around the covers, spine ribbed, panels decorated with blind-stamped fillets, inner frame of gilt fillets with gilt fleurons at the corners, green calf doublures and endleaves, double endpapers of marbled paper, gilt over untrimmed edges, top edge gilt, green wrappers bound in, green half-morocco chemise, slipcase. Binding by P.-L. Martin.
First edition of the author’s masterpiece.
Vicaire, I, 303 ; Carteret, I, 109 ; Clouzot, 39 ; Bibliothèque de feu M. Hector de Backer, n° 1893 ; Rahir, La Bibliothèque de l’amateur, 307.
There were no copies printed on large paper.
Carteret describes the present text as an “important work, one of the author’s masterpieces” and Clouzot points out that it “is more and more sought-after”.
This historical novel took twelve years to be written. This work was originally part of a vast project: Barbey d’Aurevilly had decided to write a series of stories devoted to the Chouan revolt and to group them together under the general title Ouest. He later gave up this undertaking, so that Le Chevalier des Touches is a stand-alone work.
“This romantic story, tender and atrocious, is told with a curious eloquence, a fiery vigor that recall the most thrilling pages of Victor Hugo’s ‘Quatre-Vingt-Treize’; it is distinguished from them, however, by the lively bite of a style with clear and brilliant colours, sonorous and eloquent, but never empathetic” (Dictionnaire des Œuvres, I, 725)
From Barbey d’Aurevilly’s initial project, only two novels remain, L’Ensorcelée and Le Chevalier des Touches, the author giving up on his enterprise.
A perfect copy preserved in a fine green morocco binding by Pierre-Lucien Martin matching the tint of the wrappers.