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Benjamin Constant

15, 000 

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“Benjamin got around to writing a novel,
it is the most original and touching I have ever read”
(Madame de Staël)

First edition of this “very rare work
 of great literary value” (Carteret)

Copy preserved in its elegant contemporary binding.


Constant, Benjamin. Adolphe, anecdote trouvée dans les papiers d’un inconnu, et publiée par M. Benjamin de Constant.
Londres, H. Colburn, Paris, Treuttel et Würtz, 1816.

12mo of [173 x 98 mm] of VII, 228 pp.

Aubergine half-roan, ribbed spine decorated with gilt fillet and a long gilt motif, marbled edges, tiny foxing. Contemporary binding.

First French edition, printed in Paris and bearing a London address.
Clouzot, 70-71 ; Carteret, I, 178-179 ; Talvart, III, 213 a; Rahir, Bibliothèque de l’amateur, 377 ; Vicaire, II, 932 ; Picot, Catalogue Rothschild, 1580 ; En français dans le texte, 225.

Clouzot mentions three editions published on the same date, in 1816, all 12mo :
The London one, London Colburn. Paris, Trottel and Wurtz, 1816 ; The Paris one : Paris, Treuttel and Wurtz ; London, Colburn 1816 ; and London, Colburn, Paris, Treuttel and Wurtz, 1816.
Which of these editions, published within a few days of one another, is the first one has not been established yet. All three are rare and very sought-after. The books were at the time most often soberly bound.” 

Benjamin Constant goes to London and decides to publish at the same time, in London and Paris, this novel written in Geneva in 1806, in the midst of the author’s stormy and tumultuous passion for Germaine de Staël.

« Very rare work of great literary value. » (Carteret)

In this partly autobiographical novel, a masterpiece of self-analysis, Benjamin Constant serves as the spectator to himself and personifies with talent the romantic hero, the symbol of the century’s woes.

With Adolphe, Benjamin Constant has delivered one of the most beautiful novels of French literature, one of the most mysterious and provocative ever written.

In 1816, Benjamin Constant published his novel Adolphe, to much success. It is a colorful and acute description of himself on an emotional level. It is impossible to read this well-written autopsy without being profoundly moved. But what was really a sight to see was Constant himself reading his Adolphe with gripping emotion, his face full of tears.” (Prosper de Barante, Souvenirs, II, pp. 314-315)

This brief and dense novel made the author lastingly famous.

A copy preserved in its elegant contemporary binding.

Provenance : libraries of René Collet and Georges Collet, with ex-libris.

Additional information





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