BALZAC, Honoré de Études de mœurs au XIXe siècle.

Price : 25.000,00 

First edition of Balzac’s first attempt at the “Human comedy”.
Precious copy preserved as published, untrimmed in original wrappers.

1 in stock

SKU: LCS-18205 Category:

Scènes de la vie privée, avec une introduction.., par Félix Davin. – Première série.

Paris, Madame Charles Déchet, 1834-1835, 4 volumes 8vo.

Imp. A. Barbier for parts I, III, IV, and Fond. A. Everat for part II.

1835, for the first two volumes; 1834, for the last two.

Part I : (2) ll., 401 pp., (1) table l. ; Part II : 361 pp. including half-title and title, (3) ll. ; Part III : (2) ll., 386 pp., (1) l. ; Part IV : 398 pp., (1) table l. , (8) ll. of advertisement.

Scènes de la vie de Province. – Deuxième série (first edition).

Paris, Madame Ch. Béchet, 1834-1837, 4 volumes 8vo.

1834, Béchet for the first two volumes. Imp. A. Barbier ; 1837, Werdet for the last two. Printed by Bourgogne and Martinet.

Part I including Eugénie Grandet : 384 pp., (1) table l. and 1 bl. l. (page 12 numbered 20 by mistake) ; Part II : 387 pp., (1) table l. ; Part III : (2) ll., 359 pp. ; Part IV : (4) pp. of advertisement, (2) ll., 357 pp., (1) table l., plus (4) ll. of advertisement.

The wrappers of volumes 4 and 5 were inverted at the time of printing.

Scènes de la vie parisienne. 1834-1835. – Troisième série (first edition):

Paris, Madame Ch. Béchet, 1834-1835, 4 volumes 8vo.

Imp. A. Barbier, for parts II and III; Imp. A. Everat, for parts I and IV.

Part I: 339 pp.; Part II: (2) ll., 366 pp., (1) table l. ; Part III : (2) ll., 349 pp., (1) table l. ; Part IV: 390 pp. (+ 1 table l. unknown to bibliographers), tiny tear formerly restored p. 390.

A total of 12 volumes 8vo, preserved untrimmed in their original wrappers, as published.

223 x 140 mm.

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First edition for the first attempt at the “Human comedy”.

More and more sought-after. Even rarer in contemporary uniform bindings than in modern bindings with the wrappers bound in. (Clouzot)

Consists of 3 series that are sold separately:

Scènes de la vie privée. 1834-1835; 4 volumes. Replicates the text of the 1832 edition, enlarged with the first edition of the followings works: la Fleur de Pois (that became Contrat de mariage), la Recherche de l’absolu and the last two chapters of the “Femme de trente ans.”

Scènes de la vie de province. 1834-1837. 4 volumes. Includes “Eugénie Grandet, “La Femme abandonnée”, “La Grenadière”, “L’illustre Gaudissart”, “La Vieille Fille et les Illusions perdues” (first part), all in first editions. Eugénie Grandet is often sold separately.

Scènes de la vie parisienne. 1834-1835. 4 volumes. Includes the first editions of: les Marana, Histoire des treize, la Fille aux yeux d’or, La Comtesse aux deux maris (that became le Colonel Chabert)” (M. Clouzot).

Abundant in unpublished works and the first complete form of “the Human comedy, this edition can be seen as “one of the main events of the history of literature”.

It’s in 1834 that “Les Études de mœurs” came out, of which “Les Scènes de la vie privée” only form one simple subdivision next to of other « Scènes » already written or intended, such as « Les Scènes de la Vie de province” or “Les Scènes de la Vie Parisienne”. The foreword dictated by Balzac to his friend Félix Davin, provides for the first time a general overview and the plan of the author’s vast project that is to succeed in the study of the Human comedy : “His unity had to be the world, mankind was only a detail ; because he offered his services to paint it in every situations of its life… to show the society continuously dismantled, continuously reconstituted ; finally, to achieve a general drawing of it, by building again each one of its elements.”

Numerous novels by Balzac thus come out here as first editions, some of them under a different title than their definitive title : in particular “Eugénie Grandet and the first part of “Illusions perdues”, but also “Le contrat de marriage”, “La Recherche de l’absolu”, “La Femme abandonee”, “La Grenadière”, “L’illustre Gaudissart”, “La Vieille fille”, “Les Marana”, “Ferragus”, “La duchesse de Langeais”, “La Fille aux yeux d’or”.

Bibliographers are unanimous in emphasizing the rarity of fine copies of this first attempt at a collective edition of Balzac’ novels.

Precious particularly wide-margined copy (height: 223 mm compared to 201 mm for a copy bound at the time), preserved as published, untrimmed and in original wrappers, very sought-after condition for Balzac’s first editions.

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BALZAC, Honoré de