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Mr. Nicolas; or The Unveiled Human Heart. Published by himself. Paris, printed at home, 1794-1797. 16 parts in 8 volumes in-12 (183 x 105 mm); binding on brochure, brown cardboard, smooth back (binding from the first half of the 19th century).
Rives-Childs, XLIV (announcement by mistake of 7 introductory sheets of the first volume and not 9); Pierre Testud, notice on Mr Nicolas, in: In French in the text, n° 198; Pierre Testud, critical device for Mr Nicolas, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1989, 2 volumes.
Original edition of the masterpiece by Restif de la Bretonne.
This monumental work, "one of the strangest and most extraordinary in the world's literature" (Rives Childs), forms the autobiography of Restif.
"Monsieur Nicolas is certainly first of all an autobiography whose authenticity can rarely be questioned, as evidenced by the documents, letters, or notes of My inscriptions. Certainly Restif sometimes conceals, arranges; the sense of the novelistic, the desire to interest, the sensitivity of the time play their part. But it is also an almost Balzacian work through its paintings of a childhood in the fields, a life as a worker, of the Paris of the humble and the forgotten of history. Finally, it is the sum and formal completion of a work that has so often been criticized for its prolixity, and which in the final analysis forms a single book, of which this one is a compendium... Through his constant relationship with his other books, Monsieur Nicolas is not only a self-portrait, he is also the history of his genesis and gives us the keys to his world" (cf. Dictionary of Works).
With Casanova's Memoirs, it is one of the essential readings for those who wish to acquire a direct knowledge - material and sensual - of the eighteenth century and its transformations, from the Ancien Régime to the Revolution
. Although the unquantified pages placed at the end of most of the parts indicate the subjects of the prints, they were never made and Mr N
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