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La Vie de Marianne,

7, 500 

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First edition of La Vie de Marianne by Marivaux,
one of the great French novels of the 18th century.

A precious copy, preserved in its contemporary homogeneous binding.


Marivaux, Pierre Carlet de Chamberlain. La vie de Marianne, ou les Aventures de Madame la Comtesse de ***.
Paris, Prault, 1734-1736 (parts I-VII).
La Haye, Gosse et Neaulme, 1737 (part VIII).
La Haye, Jean Neaulme, 1741 (parts IX-XI) (without the half-titles in parts IX and X).

In total 11 parts in 4 volumes 12mo [160 x 95 mm] of : I/ (6) ll., 95 pp., (3) pp., 98 pp., (2) ll., (4) pp., 140 pp.; II/ 126 pp., 130 pp., (1) l. 120 pp., (2) ll. ; III/ 144 pp., 132 pp., (1) l.,

168 pp ; IV/ (3) ll., 122 pp., (1) l., 106 pp.

Light-brown marbled calf, blind-stamped fillet on the covers, ribbed spine with gilt fleurons, lettering piece in red and olive green morocco, decorated leading edges, red edges. Contemporary binding.

Rare first edition of La Vie de Marianne, Marivaux’s very successful novel.

Tchemerzine, IV, 409 ; Bulletin Morgand et Fatout, n°11 357 ; Destailleur, 1318 ; En Français dans le texte, 143.

“First edition of this renowned novel.” (Bulletin Morgand et Fatout)

Tchemerzine remarked, in 1927, that it was extremely difficult to reunite the parts of this work in a first edition.

This reunion is today extremely rare in contemporary homogeneous binding since the publication was spread out over eleven years.

In this copy, parts IV to XI all present the characteristics of a first issue. Parts I to III are dated from 1734-1736 and 1735.

Part XII, published four years after the XI in 1745, was not written by Marivaux but was an unfinished sequel by Madame Riccoboni and is not always attached to the first eleven. Our copy is in keeping with the duc de la Vallières’s copy, kept in the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal.

A novel of manners, La Vie de Marianne was Marivaux’s first novel. The writer uses the society of his time as the topic of his novel. It is an irreplaceable portrayal of French daily life in the 18th century.

La Vie de Marianne is a great novel. First and foremost because of its psychological depth and vivacity: the character of Marianne is infinitely complex and true.

The portraits present in this novel, the constant analysis of the heroine’s feelings, the stunning modern traits, show us how Marivaux stays here truer to reality than in his plays. That is because La Vie de Marianne is also a novel of manners: Marivaux not only depicts the literary salons and the lives of the great lords, but also the street, the shops, the lives of the little people.

“After La Princesse de Clèves and Manon Lescaut, before Madame Bovary, Marianne is one of the most perfect and interesting heroines of French fiction.

Historically, La Vie de Marianne is of great importance, Marivaux reveals himself to be one of the creators of literary sensibility: Marianne and those around her have sensitive hearts.

A precious copy of this first edition, preserved in its contemporary light-brown calf binding.

Provenance: ex-libris attributable to the du Fresnoy family ; there were some bibliophiles in this family at around the time of Louis XV. The Marquises du Fresnoy disappeared around 1775.

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