DUMAS, Alexandre. Kean, comédie en 5 actes. Paris, J.-B. Barba, 1836.
8vo [224 x 132 mm] of (3) ll., 263 pp. Bound un light-brown quarter morocco, flat spine finely decorated, untrimmed. Yellow printed wrappers and spine bound in. Binding from the very beginning of the 20th century signed Mercier.
Rare first edition of this play, « performed for the first time at the “Varieties”, on August 31st 1836 ». (Talvart, V, 23). Vicaire, Manuel de l’amateur des livres du XIXe siècle, III, 345; Carteret, I, 230; Clouzot, Guide du bibliophile français, p.96.
Alexandre Dumas senior is inspired in this work by the tumultuous life of the English tragedian Edmond Kean (1787-1833), who was famous for his interpretations of Shakespeare as well as for his debaucheries and his affairs.
« ‘Kean’ is Dumas senior’s most achieved drama, especially because of its theatrical effects (we shall remind the great scene of the invective) ». (Dictionnaire des œuvres, IV, p. 53.)
« We shall note that Mr. Dumas’ play is led into this dramatic movement of which he has the secret. While being indignant, we have fun, and the scenes have a stunning rapidity. » (Revue de Paris – Année 1836. XXXIII, 70.)
The present copy is grangerized with a handwritten note of the actor Charles Kean, Edmond Kean’s son, dated April 23rd 1855: « My dear Mr. Graves, You are always welcome to (…). Yours sincerely. Charles Kean. 23 april 1855»
A good copy of the first edition of Dumas senior’s most achieved drama, with the yellow printed wrappers bound in.
No copy of this work is recorded in ABPC in the last 35 years.
Our researches allowed us to locate only 3 copies among French public Institutions: B.n.F., Médiathèque de Montpellier and Paris-Sorbonne.
Provenance: from Paul Villebœuf’s collection with ex-libris and gilt monogram in the top corner of the first paste-down.