Paris, Werdet, June 1st 1836.
2 parts in 2 volumes 8vo [223 x 145 mm] of: I/ (2) ll., LV and 325 pp., (1) l. of table and 4 pp. for the Chronique de Paris ; II/ (2) ll., 344 pp. including the table.
Preserved in the original printed wrappers, as published, untrimmed, spines slightly cracked. Original wrappers.
Precious first edition of one of Balzac’s most sought-after works.
Carteret, I, 72; Clouzot, Guide du bibliophile, 14; Vicaire, Manuel de l’amateur de livres du XIXe siècle, 202-203.
« Rare and very sought-after. Maybe even rarer in wrappers than in old bindings. » (Clouzot, 14)
In this great love novel, a bit special in Balzac’s work, the writer, by transposing in an idyll his love as pure as passionate for Laure de Berny, remembers memories of childhood and youth and becomes the moved poet embracing his native Touraine:
« Ne me demandez plus pourquoi j’aime la Touraine ; je ne l’aime ni comme on aime son berceau, ni comme on aime une oasis dans le désert, je l’aime comme un artiste aime l’art… sans la Touraine, peut-être ne vivrais-je plus ».
The first part of this first edition corresponds, with many variants, to the text which started to be published in « La Revue de Paris » from November 22 until December 27, 1835.
The novel is preceded by the important « historical account of the trial caused by Le Lys dans la Vallée » which won’t be maintained in later editions.
Actually Balzac had entrusted la Revue de Paris with the pre-publication of his novel. When he learnt that Buloz, the director of this review, had sold without his knowledge to the Revue étrangère of St Petersburg proofs of Le Lys dans la Vallée, Balzac refused to give him the end of the novel. Furious, Buloz brought an action against the author. After five painful months, Balzac obtained satisfaction, and the novel was published at the beginning of June, preceded with this biting « historical account of the trial caused by ‘Le Lys dans la Vallée’ ». The repercussions of this trial ensured an immediate success to the novel: 1800 out of the 2000 printed copies were sold the actual day of the release.
A very fine and pure copy, particularly wide-margined since untrimmed (height of pages: 223 mm), preserved in the original printed wrappers, a rare condition.
Hayoit’s copy, washed and in a modern binding, was sold for 75,000 francs at the Sotheby’s auction of June 29, 2001 (that is to say about 12,000 €).