Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2019 Issue

Valuable and Unusual Books, Autographs, Music and Photographs from Librairie Métamorphoses

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The latest from Librairie Métamorphoses.

Librairie Métamorphoses has released a catalogue of Livres Précieux ou Curieux, Autographes, Musique & Photographies (valuable and unusual books, autographs, music and photographs). Métamorphoses is a Parisian bookseller, and the material, as well as the catalogue, is in French. You will need to understand the language, and better than I, to fully appreciate this catalogue. Many of the works come from French surrealists, and surrealist writing is hard to understand in a language you can read, let alone one you cannot. I beg your indulgence for shortcomings of a review of a catalogue where my understanding is limited to a few words. I will not attempt to describe the personal letters and inscriptions, of which there are many, as they require greater translation skills. Suffice it to say there are handwritten notes from many important French writers of the past few centuries. For examples of what is in the catalogue, I will stick with items less demanding of translations.


I will start with an item needing the least of such skills - a photograph. The photograph is of Guillaume Apollinaire. He is seen lying in a hospital bed, his head bandaged. For those fascinated by surrealism, you can't ask for much more than this in terms of photography. It was Apollinaire who created the term "surrealism" to describe the then new genre of works beyond the realm of the real. He used the term to describe others' works, but Apollinaire was already an established poet as well as a correspondent when he first used that term in 1917. Apollinaire served during the First World War, which explains this hospital photograph. He received a head wound from which he was recuperating when the photograph was taken in May 1916. Unfortunately, he never fully regained his strength and in his weakened state, succumbed to an influenza epidemic in 1918. Item 3. Priced at €10,000 (Euros, or approximately $11,366 in U.S. dollars).

 

It has been three and one-half centuries since Moliere was writing his plays, but he remains one of France's greatest and most popular writers to this day. He is noted as a playwright, but Moliere was also a poet and an actor, often appearing in the plays he wrote. Many of his plays were ballets and featured music, but its his words for which they are remembered. He wrote comedies, and they regularly poked fun at people of the day, particularly the pompous. He was not always appreciated by his targets, which included the nobility, churchmen, and physicians. The church was able to get some of his performances banned. Fortunately for Moliere, he had an advocate at the top. King Louis XIV enjoyed the humor, especially since Moliere was careful in his treatment of the King. Moliere put on many performances for the King and his entourage. Item 48 is one of Moliere's notable plays, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. It is a farce about a representative of the bourgeois class, a social climber attempting to be an aristocrat. In the process, Moliere manages to make fun of both the social-climbing ordinary citizen and the pretentious aristocracy. Offered is a copy of the very rare first edition, first state, from 1671. Price on request.

 

Paul-Jean Toulet was a twentieth century French poet and novelist. His style is generally considered unusual, though not placed within any particular group. According to Wikipedia anyway, "his novels are almost unreadable today." That is why you want a collectible copy, such as this, rather than a reading copy. Item 65 is his final novel, published in 1920 (the year he died), La Jeune Fille Verte (the green girl). It is described as a story of intrigue in the French province of Bearn, near the Basque region of Spain. This is one of 50 copies printed, appropriately enough, on green paper. €7,500 (US $8,524).

 

Next we have a large plate of artwork from French comic artist Jean Giraud. It is for the series Le Longue Marche, from 1979. Giraud is noted for the detail in his artwork. The Long March features an unexpected setting for French comics - the American West. It is a place that long fascinated Giraud before taking on the project. It centers around a western character called "Blueberry," a name that American western writers probably wouldn't have selected for their hero. Anyway, he is much tougher than his name suggests, and he goes around the West fixing things that need fixing. Giraud is likely the most popular of all French (and Belgian) comic book artists other than Hergé. Item 28 €30,000 (US $34,090).

 

Librairie Métamorphoses may be reached at +33 (0)1 42 02 22 13 or librairie.metamorphoses@gmail.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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