Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2019 Issue

First Books from Librairie Clavreuil


Author's first books.

Librairie Clavreuil of Paris has issued a catalogue entitled Leur Premier Livre. That translates to "Their First Book," and it refers to the authors not the owners. It is a collection of mostly first editions of first books by notable authors. The subject matter varies widely, containing literature, poetry, science, medicine, history, politics, and more. Most, though not all books are in French, a few being written in English and other European languages. The catalogue itself is entirely written in French. Prices are not specified. Here are a few selections from this catalogue of first books.


Francois-René Vicomte de Chateaubriand would die as one of France's most acclaimed writers. He was little acclaimed at the time he published his first book. Born in 1868, he trained to be a naval officer, then a priest, joined the army, became tired of it, and moved to Paris. While a royalist, he became sympathetic to the ideals of the revolution. However, he opposed the violence, so in 1791, he sailed to America, seeking a freer and simpler life. He traveled to the western regions of the young country, spent time living with the Indians seeking an ideal life. Evidently, it didn't work out quite that way so in 1792 he returned home. He joined royalist forces, was seriously injured, and in 1793, as the Reign of Terror began, he managed to escape to London. He remained there until the amnesty of 1800 allowed him to return to France. During his years in England, Chateaubriand began his serious career as a writer. In 1797, his first book was published, item 11 being a first edition of Essai Historique, Politique, et Moral, sur les Revolutions Anciennes et Modernes, Considerees dans leurs Rapports avec la Revolution Francoise. In it, Chateaubriand looks at ancient and modern revolutions and compares them to what was going on in France. He opposed the conservatives of the time, though Chateaubriand would later fully embrace France's return to a monarchy. This book was not a best-seller and did little to build his reputation, but it would be followed by some of the romantic novels from which his career would blossom. He would serve in political office after the Restoration and become the renowned Romantic writer he is today. His best known work, his Memories from Beyond the Grave, would not be published until over a half century later, appropriately enough, after he died.


Next we have one that will appeal to Americans, both for its language (English) and its subject. Michel Guillaume St. Jean de Crevecoeur was born in France in 1735. In 1755, he immigrated to America, serving on behalf of the French during the French and Indian War. Despite that loyalty, he stayed on after the French defeat, settling in the British colony of New York. He purchased a large farm in upstate New York where he prospered. He also became a naturalized citizen of the colony, adopting the more American sounding name of John Hector St. John. However, in 1779, he returned to France, he being an unusual combination of French and British in Revolutionary America. He next moved to London, and that is where he wrote this book, Letters from an American Farmer: Describing Certain Provincial Situations, Manners, and Customs, Not Generally Known; and Conveying Some Idea of the Late and Present Interior Circumstances of the British Colonies of North America. It was published in 1782. Perhaps he was humoring the English by calling them "British colonies," but technically they could still be so called as the Treaty of Paris had not yet been signed. Crevecoeur also used his English name, John Hector St. John, for this English book. The book brought Europeans one of their first extensive looks at America, Crevecoeur writing about the entire country with much about its people, customs, infrastructure, and such. His writing was very much complimentary of Americans and their free institutions, encouraging many English citizens to immigrate to the new land, as he once did. Crevecoeur was appointed French Consul in 1783 and returned to New York. He remained in America until 1790 when he was recalled to France. Item 15.


Carlo Lorenzo, born in Florence in 1826, by the 1840s had become engaged with literature, theater, and politics. He participated in the First Italian War of Independence, and was an active promoter of the unification of the Italian states. He became a journalist and was a founder of several satirical newspapers. While originally using the Lorenzo name, in 1856 he adopted the pen name for which he is better known, Carlo Collodi. He would again go to war and settle down to write novels for adults. In 1856, he also published his first book, Un Romano in Vapore. Da Firenze a Livorno (A novel in steam from Florence to Livorno). It celebrated the opening of a railroad line between the two cities. It describes the technological advances highlighted by this new mode of transportation. During the 1870s, Collodi turned his attention to writing a different kind of book, stories for children. He wrote several of these, but the one you know is his story of a wooden marionette by the name of Pinocchio, published in 1883. Item 13 is a copy of his first, "steamy" novel from 1856.


Like Crevecoeur, we will now take another journey back to America. Unlike Collodi, this author's first book is not an obscurity. Rather, it is by far his most famous. Most every American school child read it for several decades, generally for the wrong reasons. In 1951, J. D. Salinger published his first novel, The Catcher in the Rye. It is one of those coming of age books, the protagonist an unhappy prep school student with whose feelings many in their teen years could easily identify. However, what made the book particularly exciting to adolescents of the time was Salinger's willingness to use bad language and talk of sex, as they did, but only when their parents weren't around. Item 55.


Librairie Clavreuil may be reached at +33 (0)1 43 26 97 69 or basane@thomas-scheler.fr.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <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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