‎BALZAC, M. de (HONORÉ). - [A CLASSIC OF FRENCH ROMANTIC LITERATURE]‎
‎La Peau de Chagrin, roman philosophique. 2 Tomes.‎

‎Paris, Charles Gosselin, Urbain Canel, 1831. 8vo. Bound in one cont. hcloth w. gilt title to back. Re-backed w. dark cloth resembling the old, preserving almost all of the old back. Extremities a bit worn. Some brownspotting. On good paper, lacking half-titles but w. both leaves of errata and both frontispieces after Johannot, engr. by Porret, printed on fine China paper. All the errata from the errata-leaves have been hand-corrected in ink in a contemporary hand, which has also neatly written "Corrigé" after both lists of errata. The very rare first edition of one of Balzac's main works, -one of his greatest novels and the one to establish his name as "M. de Balzac", which he used for all later publications. The novel quickly became highly popular, and was published in seven editions in Balzac's life-time. The second edition of the work appeared under the title "Romans et Contes philosophiques" merely a month and a half after the first edition; "Seconde édition, LA PEAU DE CHAGRIN étant considérée comme la premiere édition des "ROMANS ET CONTES PHILOSOPHIQUES." (Carteret I:62). The first edition appeared in August 1831, and the second in September 1831. The novel was thus a great success, and by June the following year (1832) three editions and 4500 copies of the book had been sold. The novel marks the actual literary debut of Balzac, and with this work he began the series that would come to occupy a separate and distinctive role in his "Comédie humaine", the "Études philosophiques". "La "Peau de chagrin" n'est pas vraiment en roman, mais un conte à demi-philosophique, à demi-fantastique, qui rapelle quelque peu la manière d'Hoffmann, lequel exerca les "Études philosophiques" une très grande influence" (Laffont-Bompiani, III:689). Balzac is one of the most celebrated French romantic and post-romantic writers, and this is one of his earliest and most famous works. Balzac is generally accepted as one of the main founders of realism in literature, and numerous great writers like Flaubert, Zola, Marcel Proust etc. have been influenced by his writings. "Tout ses livres, ne font qu'un livre; livre rivant, lumineux, profond, où l'on voit aller, et venir, et marcher, et se muvoir, avec je ne sais quoi d'effaré et de terrible, mêlé au réel, toute notre civilisation contemporaine[...] Balzac saisit corps à corps la société moderne. [...]" (Hugo about Balzac, see N.B.G. 4:330). With the ownership signature of the famous Danish poet, Niels Møller (1859-1941), dated "Marts 1891", who is primarily known for having translated several classical Greek works, among these Aristotle's Politics and Nicomachean Ethics, into Danish. He also translated Shakespeare and Browning. Carteret I:60.‎

Reference : 32142


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