Paris, Alphonse Lemerre, 1873.
12mo [176 x 111 mm] of (4) ll., 258 pp. Small loss of paper in the upper blank margin of pp. 233-235, slight foxing. Dark blue half-calf, flat spine decorated with gilt fleurons, speckled edges. Contemporary binding.
“Very sought-after” first edition (Clouzot) of this “very rare work by Alphonse Daudet containing 31 tales from the author’s best inspiration” (Carteret, I, 194).
Clouzot, 81; Vicaire, III, 41; Rahir, La Bibliothèque de l’amateur, 391; Talvart, IV, 16.
Carteret mentions 4 copies on China paper not recorded by Talvart.
“Remarkable work by Alphonse Daudet, published in 1873 and which, without making one forget the ‘Letters from my windmill’, made as much for the author’s glory as all his novels. This compilation contains around 40 tales, which, for the most part, recall the short and terrible war of 1870: the Invasion, the Siege of Paris and the Commune. Only things that he saw, in a way. Less realistic than impressionistic, Daudet takes pleasure in small pictures. No one knew, as he did, how to capture in a few pages a heart-rending, unfortunate or fully comical situation. He excels in bringing out the weak side of human beings. Yet, he’s careful not to judge: his taste for truth, his compassion, his imaginativeness forbid him any behavior of this kind. In this field, Daudet remains inimitable…These tales with a historical background are really of a good nature, as we used to say in former times. Daudet seems to have written them as the thoughts came into his head. It’s as if they were made all by themselves. Naturalness, freshness and simplicity: Daudet brings in his style the energy of the Provencal narrators. In addition, we like that, to so much pathos he associated such a feeling of discretion. Here is probably what explains the appeal that the ‘Contes’ have always had on many readers”. (Dictionnaire des Œuvres, II, 64).
A precious copy offered by the author to the woman of letters and novelist Emma Bailly and bearing this autograph dedication at the beginning of the volume: « A Mme Emma Bailly, hommage respectueux. Alphonse Daudet. »
Louise Lucienne Emma Bérenger, known as Claire de Chandeneux, also known by her two names of alliance: Emma de Prébaron and Emma Bailly, born in Crest (Drôme) on November 17, 1836 and died in Vincennes (Seine) on October 6, 1881, is a French woman of letters and novelist.
Married successively to two military men, the captain of Prébaron, then the commander Bailly, she is the author of about thirty novels having as a background the military life of province. Member of the Société des gens de lettres, she founded two journals, Paris littéraire and Paris charmant, two years before her death at the age of 45.
Precious copy dedicated by the author of this classic of Provencal literature, preserved in its contemporary binding.
Dedicated copies of Daudet’s original editions are sought-after.
Localization of the copies: 5 only among French public institutions (Canteleu, Pau, Dijon, Bordeaux and B.n.F.).