Nerval (Gérard de)

Lot 4
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Estimation :
30000 - 50000 EUR
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Result : 42 968EUR
Nerval (Gérard de)
Scenes from Oriental Life. 1. Women of Cairo. 2 [Women of Lebanon]. Ferdinand Sartorius, Paris, 1848. Very first issue, 2 volumes with the correct 1848 date, the second of which bears the subtitle Les Femmes du Caire (instead of Les Femmes du Liban), surmounted by the number "2". In the rare copies of the second volume with the 1848 date, the cover has been scratched in the date printed in Roman numerals at the X and VIII of "M DCCC XLVIII", transforming it into "M DCCC L". However, this change was overlooked for the title page, which retained the "M DCCC XLVIII" date. This very first issue of the second volume therefore bears two different dates on the cover and title page. First edition (27.7 x 14 cm). Signed binding by Pierre-Lucien Martin: brown half-maroquin with corners, 5-rib pinched spine, boxes inset with triple cold fillet, gilt titles, gilt heads, pebbled paper lining and endpapers, covers and spine preserved, slipcase. Copy by Auguste Maquet, one of only two known copies, with dispatch of the true original edition by Sartorius dated 1848 for both volumes. Autograph letter signed in black ink on the title page of the first volume: "Á mon camarade A. Maquet Gérard". Of this major work by Gérard de Nerval, the union of the two volumes with the 1848 date ("Sartorius" edition) is extremely rare, and, apart from ours, fewer than ten copies are known to exist: a copy in the Spoelberch de Lovenjoul collection, at the Institut; two copies in the Buffetaud collection, one of which came from the Robert Danon library, dispersed in 1973; a copy described in the 1995 catalog of the Jean-Claude Vrain bookshop (catalog no. 109); the copy of Dietrichstein, tutor to L'Aiglon in Vienna (La Bibliothèque de Pierre Bergé, 2nd sale, Sotheby's / Pierre Bergé et Associés, November 8-9, 2016, no. 313), two copies mentioned by Michel Brix (2020), one from a Gaillandre bookshop catalog and another from a Geneva library (possibly the Vrain bookshop), the copy from Jules Janin with an ex-dono in his hand (first erroneously described as a dispatch from Nerval, see Brix, 2020), and finally the copy with a dispatch to Eugène de Stadler, bound in a single volume (Gérard de Nerval exhibition, Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris, 1996, no. 372). This latter copy is the only one with a dispatch from Nerval. The dispatch in all these copies is signed "Gérard de Nerval", whereas our copy dedicated to Maquet is signed by "Gérard" alone, testifying to the particular antiquity of their friendship, dating back to college, and their literary collaboration. Gérard" is a reminder that in his youth, Nerval's first books were published under his first name alone, and it was not until 1836 that he chose his definitive pseudonym. Auguste Maquet (1813-1888) is one of the most little-known writers of the 19th century: introduced by Nerval to Alexandre Dumas, he contributed with Dumas to the greatest cloak-and-dagger novels of his time, between 1840 and 1850: Le Chevalier d'Harmental, followed by Les Trois Mousquetaires, Vingt Ans Après, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, Le Chevalier de Maison Rouge, La Dame de Monsoreau, Joseph Balsamo, Le Vicomte de Bragelonne, La Tulipe Noire and Le Collier de la Reine. Only a court ruling (1858) based on an old agreement between Dumas and Maquet removed Maquet's claim to co-authorship! Based on an idea of his own or on a project by Dumas, Maquet was in fact the initial editor of the stories, which Dumas was later to transform into famous novels, giving rise to the most spectacular literary association of the time. The present copy evokes in a unique way the collaboration of three great romantics: Nerval, Maquet and Dumas. Provenance: Auguste Maquet; Henri Matarasso. Exhibition: Gérard de Nerval, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 1955, no. 102.
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