Paris, chez la Veuve de Jean-Baptiste Coignard et Jean-Baptiste Coignard Fils, 1691.
12mo [160 x 80 mm] of (1) bl. l., (6) ll., 324 pp., (1) bl. l. Contemporary full brown granite-like calf, gilt arms stamped in the center of the covers, spine ribbed decorated with gilt fleurons, mottled edges. Contemporary binding.
160 x 80 mm.
Extremely rare first edition of this tale by Charles Perrault printed 6 years before the collection of Tales of 1697.
Here is the first edition, with the title bearing the address of the widow and the son of J.B. Coignard. Some copies of this first edition bear the address of J.B. Coignard, others the one of his widow and his son.
J.B. Coignard died in 1688 and some of the books printed on the family press in 1690 bear the address of his widow. But many books are still printed with J.B. Coignard’s address until 1697. Thus, the first separate edition of La Marquise de Salusses, published at the end of 1691, is still printed with J.B. Coignard’s address.
That is why it is very difficult to know which of the two title-pages, the one with the printer’s address or the one with his widow and son’s address, was printed before the other. Few copies from the first edition were probably replaced on sale at the end of the year 1691 with a cancel title. But to give the anteriority to one or the other title-page seems difficult.
On August 25th 1691, Father Lavau reads at the French Academy ‘La Marquise de Salusses ou la patience de Grisélidis’, which was welcomed with a lot of applause. The short story in verse by Charles Perrault was published soon after in the 1691 ‘Recueil’ of the Academy, where were also published ‘A Monsieur ** en luy envoyant la Marquise de Salusses’ as well as other texts by him. It was also published separately at Jean-Baptiste Coignard’s in 1691.
Only the separate edition published a few weeks later is described by Tchemerzine and already qualified by him of « extremely rare » (V, 172).
Only Gumuchian (n°4472), Stoerer and Tannery (n°402) describe the present edition (with J.B. Coignard’s address).
« This short story is probably here a first edition » writes Tannery.
This tale had two editions this same year, one in the present collection, the other in a separate volume. Although bibliographers have always described the separated edition as the original (cf. Tchemerzine, V, 172), it seems now established that it was published after the present collection.
Tony Gheeraert writes in his critical edition of the Marvelous tales (Honoré Champion, 2005, p. 19): “This play was published twice in 1691, first in the ‘Recueil de plusieurs pièces d’éloquence […]’ given this year, then isolated, in a small 12mo volume of 58 pages.”
The reading of this volume, “finished printing on September 22nd 1691”, that is to say less than a month after the first reading of the text, leaves no doubt.
In the passage entitled « A Monsieur ** en luy envoyant la Marquise de Salusses », page 195, the storyteller writes « Si je m’estais rendu à tous les differents avis qui m’ont esté donnez sur l’Ouvrage que je vous envoye, il n’y seroit rien demeuré que le conte tout sec & tout uni, & en ce cas j’aurois mieux fait de n’y pas toucher & de le laisser dans son papier bleu où il est depuis tant d’années…Ensuite de cette conférence j’ay pris le parti de laisser mon Ouvrage tel à peu près qu’il a esté lu dans l’Académie… J’apprendray du public ce que j’en dois croire et suivray exactement tous ses avis, s’il m’arrive jamais de faire une seconde édition de cet ouvrage ». This second edition is described by Tchemerzine as the original since he ignores the existence of ours.
The first edition of the first Tale, « La marquise de Salusses » was published in 1691, then the collection was published in January 1697 under the privilege dated October 28th 1696 and recorded on January 11th 1697. The hawking literature adopted the Contes by Perrault since 1707 and the Cabinet des fées of 1781 looked at them as a creation of a new kind.
The account finds its source in Boccaccio’s Decameron.
Published again in 1694, the short story is then followed by two other tales also in verse Peau d’Ane and Les Souhaits ridicules which appear then in first editions.
It is Charles Nodier (1844) “who, first, perceived in it one of the most ravishing productions of French prose” and place it among the great literary French texts. Glory came with the 19th and 20th centuries.
A precious copy bound in contemporary granite like calf with the arms of the Marquis of Langeac.
“Gilbert-Allyre-Antoine de Langeac, 7th of that name, called marquis of Langeac, lord of Préchonnet, Bonnebaut, Paleport and other places son of Claude-Allyre and Madeleine de Montanier, born towards 1700, was great seneschal of Auvergne and died in Clermont-Ferrand in September 1780. He had married first Marguerite-Reine Rochette in 1720 and he secondly married, on May 5th 1742, Louise-Elisabeth de Melun, princess of Epinoy”. Olivier, Pl. 748.
First editions of tales by Perrault in their contemporary armorial binding have always been sought-after by bibliophiles.