Bruxelles, Meline, Cans et Compagnie, 1848-1850.
6 parts in 12 volumes 12mo of : I/ (2) ll, 140 pp; II/ pp. 141-356; III/ (2) ll, 180 pp; IV/ pp. 181-374; V/ (2) ll, 232 pp; VI/ pp. 233-471; VII/ (2) ll, 228 pp; VIII/ pp. 229-490; IX/ (2) ll, 180 pp; X/ pp. 181-483; XI/ (2) ll, 212 pp; XII/ pp. 213-516. Original wrappers, folders and slipcases.
191 x 120 mm.
Extremely rare pre-original edition of “one of the most important texts of 19th century. literature” (Clouzot).
It is the only complete edition of which the text of the first volume was published before the Paris edition.
Paul Van der Perre, Les préfaçons des Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe, Bulletin du bibliophile, 1931.
“Sought-after edition of which the first volumes were published before the French edition.
Clouzot, 66; En Français dans le texte, 268.
This pre original edition is so rare that in an article published in the Bulletin du bibliophile of 1931, Paul van der Perre said that he had searched for this edition without ever finding it.
Chateaubriand’s autobiographical masterpiece, intended by the author to be published only after his death, the Memoirs from Beyond the Grave, will begin to be published in serial form, three months after Chateaubriand’s death in July 1848.
“These Memoirs have been the object of my predilection. Saint Bonaventure obtained from heaven the permission to continue his work after his death: I do not hope for such a favor but I would like to resurrect at the time of the ghosts to correct at least the proofs…”.
In July 1817, in the park of the castle of Montboissier, the song of a bird awakens in him memories of his youth: “I was drawn out of my reflections by the chirping of a thrush perched on the highest branch of a birch. At once, this magic sound made my eyes reappear in my father’s domain; suddenly transported into the past, I revisited these campaigns where I heard the thrush whistle so often…”.
“The work and the personality of Chateaubriand (1768-1848) dominate all the literary 19th century. He was born, says Barbey d’Aurevilly, like Napoleon, with a star on his head, and when the emperor’s star faded and disappeared, his remained bright. Chateaubriand had the admiration, the influence, the eyes of the world fixed on him and a minute in the government of his country. And, prodigious thing, he remained poetic. A new way of feeling and thinking, of expressing oneself and of understanding dates from Chateaubriand. He opened the era of Romanticism“. (Talvart).
A unique work with an extraordinary variety of style written in the middle of Romanticism, the Memoirs are shaped by a subtle alchemy mixing reality with imagination, psychological investigation with admirable portraits and descriptions of landscapes which are among the most beautiful of all our literature.
An attractive copy of this very rare pre-original edition of Chateaubriand’s masterpiece preserved in its original wrappers.
Provenance: Library of Abbé Aubenas, with handwritten ex libris on the wrapper of each volume.
Ad. Aubenas was the nephew of Abbé Bonnefoi who published in 1784 “De l’état religieux, son esprit, son établissement et ses progrès”.
“In it he treats with depth and courage various questions which public opinion on the eve of the revolution of 1789 must not have accepted with favor and which, perhaps, as Ad. Aubenas, his nephew, gave birth to M. de Chateaubriand’s idea of his génie du christianisme” (C. F. H. Barjavel, Dictionnaire historique, biographique et bibliographique, I, p.17).