Leipzig, Büschel et se trouve à Paris, chez Belin, puis chez Mérigot, 1780-1785.
42 parts in 21 12mo volumes [160 x 95 mm], a few tear with loss of text on l. 113 of the 41st part, tiny waterstain on 6 figures. Marbled calf, blind-stamped fillet around the covers, spines ribbed and decorated with gilt fleurons, red and green morocco lettering pieces, marbled edges. Contemporary binding.
160 x 95 mm.
First edition of Les Contemporaines, illustrated in first issue with 283 fine etchings out of pagination by Binet, including many of them before the letter and 10 of them folding.
Paul Lacroix, Bibliographie des ouvrages de Restif de la Bretonne, 162-188.
Restif started Les Contemporaines in 1779. He had written a small number of Short Stories that he was supposed to entitle “Nouvelles Parisiennes”.
The success of the first volumes encouraged him to pursue his work that he enlarged to 17 parts, then to 30 and finally to 42.
The author had to defend himself in front of the justice against several complaints in defamation by some women of Paris who felt “depicted under quite sad colours” by Restif.
The work is rightly famous and sought-after for its very delicate illustration, composed of 283 fine full-page figures drawn by Binet.
“Binet was submitted to Restif’s tantrums that imposed him types and forms met in its imagination. Very good and very skillful drawer, Binet agreed to give doll’s waists and kid feet to the women he depicted”.
These etchings were sought-after all over Europe where Restif was considered as the sovereign arbiter of French fashion.
All the engravings of this complete copy are from an excellent issue and sometimes before the letter, without the caption.
“These many figures have cost a lot of money”. P. Lacroix.
Very often the 42 volumes were composed of copies from different editions.
Here the copy is particularly homogeneous since it is composed of the first 34 parts in 17 volumes, in very first edition at the date of 1780-1783 and the last 4 volumes at the date of 1784 and 1785.
The publication of these short stories provoked the indignation of some women described by Restif.
“These short stories brought me lots of sorrows for their veracity”.
A precious copy, very homogeneous and fresh, complete with the 283 engravings and preserved in its pure and uniform contemporary bindings.