Paris, H. Nicolle, 1807.
2 parts in 2 volumes 8vo [199 x 124 mm] of: I/ (2) ll., 421 pp. misnumbered 425, (1) bl.p., (1) l. of table; II/ (2) ll., 511 pp., (1) bl.p., (1) l.; bound as usual without the blank leaves at the end of the text of each volume, small burning mark not touching the text at p. 305 of the second volume. Bound in contemporary green glazed half-calf, spines decorated with blind-stamped patterns, black morocco lettering pieces, vellum corners, covers in green marbled paper. Contemporary binding.
First edition. Carteret, II, 341; Lonchamp, L’œuvre imprimé de Madame Germaine de Staël, 59-2; Vicaire, Manuel de l’amateur de livres du XIXe siècle, VII, 651.
Another edition in 2 volumes 8vo was published in Paris in 1807. It is difficult to establish with certainty the anteriority of one or another of those editions. Carteret and Vicaire say that the present edition printed by Nicolle is the first edition while Lonchamp thinks that the other edition from Paris, no name, 1807, would be the true first edition.
This novel born of a travel in Italy and of the loving friendship between Mme de Stael and the young diplomat Pierre de Souza Holstein, was for an entire romantic and passionate generation the book of the ideal and love.
« Lord Oswald Nevil travels in Italy during winter 1794-1795 to enjoy himself. In Rome, he meets Corinne, famous poetess, at the moment of her crowning at the Capitoline Hill; he is seduced by her brilliant gifts and her personal charm. The development of the psychological situation is closely linked to the description of Italy. The romance takes shape, and the feelings of the heroes are revealed during their idlings in the fields of art and spirit. » (Dictionnaire des Œuvres, II, 94)
The work is composed of two parts. The first one, rich in descriptions, revealed Italy to Frenchmen while the Napoleonic conquests were encouraging their coming to the peninsula. The other part describes the eternal conflict between passion and duty. The hostility of Napoleon towards Mme de Stael brought her a certain reputation.
A superb copy without foxing preserved in its contemporary green glazed half-calf of a rare elegance.