PAGNOL, Marcel. Topaze. Pièce en quatre actes. Paris, Fasquelle, 1930. Large 8vo in original wrappers, uncut. Protective chemise, slip-case. First edition, copy n°57, one of 75 deluxe copies on Japanese vellum. “At the beginning of the play, Topaze is a teacher of moral in a private establishment, the boarding school « Muche », whose director exploits him shamefully. He practices with competence, dedication to duty and scruple, hoping to receive the decoration awarded to teachers. As he refused to change the marks of a dunce, son of a baroness, he is fired and he is then hired by Régis Castel-Bénac, local councilor who traffics in the entire commune’s business. The latter and his mistress need an honest and little known man to take the apparent management of their business firm, that is to say in order to serve as a figurehead. It’s not long before Topaze learns the dishonest character of the transactions in which he is associated, but under Suzy’s influence, whose charm he is sensitive to, he changes little by little his perspective and becomes a hard and wise businessman. He ousts Castel-Bénac not only from the business firm that they are using as a cover, but also from Suzy’s heart. For Topaze, money ‘is the force governing the world, and those small rustle rectangle papers are the modern form of power’.”
“Pagnol delivers through his hero who became rich and powerful a cynical eulogy of money which is actually an emphatic condemnation of it.”
-Comes with: Marius. Pièce en quatre actes et six tableaux. Paris, Fasquelle, 1931. 8vo in original wrappers, uncut. Protective chemise, slip-case. Rare first edition, of which only 150 copies were printed. Copy n°45, one of 50 deluxe copies printed on Japanese vellum. “First part of a trilogy of Marseilles, this work allows the young play writer who was revealed the previous year by his first success ‘Topaze’, to assert himself. Created on May 9th 1929, the play received the most favourable welcome […] Next to ‘Marius, ‘Fanny’ and ‘César’, it is an entire people of Christmas crib figures of Marseilles that Marcel Pagnol evokes: Escartefigue, Panisse, Honorine… so many characters smelling of garlic and lavender, shells and pastis, the nostalgic smells of the Old Port; an entire jovial, lively and melancholic world, as close to laughs as tears, and to tragedy as comedy.” (Dictionnaire des Œuvres, IV, p. 403).
-Comes with: César. Paris, Fasquelle, 1937. 8vo in original wrappers, uncut. Spine slightly faded. Protective chemise, slip-case. Rare first edition, of which only 75 copies were printed. Copy n°16, one of 25 deluxe copies printed on imperial Japanese paper. “Contrarily to the first two parts of the trilogy of Marseilles (‘Marius’ and ‘Fanny’), this work has not been written to be played on stage, but for screens. Between the second and the third chapter of the famous trilogy, some time passed; a statement specifies the duration: twenty years. ‘César’ grants to love the revenge of two defeats. […] Here takes place an arduous and praiseworthy revenge, like maturity for these beautiful fruits from the Phocean orchard. In ‘César’, life pays; Marius gets back to Fanny. They get married […]” (Dictionnaire des Œuvres, I, p. 618).
A total of 3 volumes 8vo, preserved as published in the original wrappers.
210 x 150 mm and 227 x 165 mm for Topaze.
A rare set of three major first editions by Pagnol. Precious deluxe copies from the very limited issue on Japan paper, preserved in the editor’s wrappers, uncut and with untrimmed edges.
Pagnol’s major first editions printed on large paper and preserved in their original wrappers are very sought-after.