Tinan (Jean de)

Lot 45
Go to lot
Estimation :
7000 - 12000 EUR
Tinan (Jean de)
Cross correspondence with Marie Lepel-Cointet. December 31, 1893-September 27, 1898. Contemporary binding: two in-8 volumes (22.5 x 16 cm), black half-chagrin, smooth spine decorated with gilded fleurons and dotted lines, gilded skull and crossbones. Fascinating unpublished intimate correspondence between Jean de Tinan and his "protective" friend, comprising 134 crossed letters. An extraordinary psychological document covering the young writer's life, projects, illness, emotions and loves, including his ill-fated passion for Édith Durant, the Flossie of Penses-tu réussir? 280 and 285 pages in various formats, mounted on tabs: 74 autograph letters signed by Jean de Tinan (1874-1898), with one dictated letter signed, and 60 autograph letters signed by his distant relative and confidante Marie Lepel-Cointet (1861-1913). The latter, née Marie-Lucie Valais, who became Mme Lepel-Cointet in 1877, had this set bound after the death of Tinan, whom she regarded and loved as a younger brother. But it was in fact Tinan himself who intended to collect these letters as a testimony to his passion and suffering, as evidenced by three leaves bound at the head of the first volume, bearing in his handwriting "Lettres de 1893 et 1894" and "Ma vie", and by Marie Lepel-Cointet's note opening the set, entitled "Vers la mort" and dated November 28, 1898, ten days after Tinan's death. Some letters are undated, and the chronological sequence is not always respected. These pages reveal the evolution of the young writer's feelings, and offer a lucid analysis of his own, as the illness that was to take his life gradually took hold of him. Tinan is well aware of his own contradictions, modulated by his extreme sensitivity "oscillating between love and self-contempt", with "his exquisite irony expressing itself as much in enthusiasm as in skepticism" (Jean-Paul Goujon). Tinan says he "feels this sensibility straining until it breaks, like piano strings breaking, leaving a lamentable memory in the room, which falls silent again". Her correspondent acts as protector and comforter, alternating between indulgent tones and affectionate reproaches aimed at comforting Tinan. The great figure to be discovered in these pages is Édith Durant, although she is only exceptionally named. The future Flossie of Penses-tu réussir? is described as the ideal beloved, without comparison with "girlfriends", and despite the failure of this lost love: "I am dead to life. The one I love is far, far away. I WANT to love her until the last hour", and further on: "I melancholically regret what I could have been if she had loved me! Do you think that one day this sentence will burn me less brightly?" And with other women, "I know how to say 'I love you' in a voice without timbre - but deep down everything bleeds, it bleeds & the blood little by little rises and chokes me". It was probably at Jumièges that Tinan met Édith Durant du Rousset (1876-1968), whose Tunis-based family was related to the abbey's owners. In 1895, she married Paul Hackenberger, a banker and director of the Société du Gaz et des Eaux de Tunis. Tinan also recommended certain books to Marie: Les Chansons de Bilitis and L'Esclavage by Pierre Louÿs, and works by Gide, d'Annunzio, Huysmans, du Sâr Péladan and Wilde. He ironizes about the contributors to La Revue blanche, "all in ties & so polite, so polite [...] only they have forgotten to have a soul". A letter written from Jumièges in the summer of 1896 offers an uncompromising assessment of writers at the end of the century. Tinan classifies them into "milliners", like Paul Hervieu, "creators" (poets) and "compreneurs" or critics, among whom he places himself, mocking the "stampomania" or mania for getting printed. A visit to Stéphane Mallarmé with his friend Lebey left a lasting impression on him: "It seems to me, in the midst of this simplicity, that I have received a kind of baptism. I almost want to dare to be me one day [...] to stop showing the smiling mask behind which I sob." Provenance: Marie Lepel-Cointet.
My orders
Sale information
Sales conditions
Return to catalogue