Louis Destouches, dit Louis-Ferdinand CÉLINE.

Lot 120
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Louis Destouches, dit Louis-Ferdinand CÉLINE.
Voyage au bout de la nuit. Novel.
Paris, Éditions Denoël et Steele, 1932.
Fort in-12 : dark brown jansenist morocco, spine ribbed, gold filleted edges, red morocco lining with gilt fillet, black silk endpapers, gilt edges on witnesses, cover and spine preserved, case (Huser).
First edition.
One of 10 numbered first copies on Arches laid paper (no. 9).
To this edition should be added 10 off-market copies, partly nominative, on the same paper. (See the summary notice by Pascal de Sadeleer in the catalogue of the Bibliothèque littéraire Robert Moureau et Micheline de Bellefroid, Pierre Bergé et associés, 2003, nº 106.)
Autograph letter signed on a blank sheet mounted on a tab at the head of the book:
A Mons. J David
Sure guardian of the spirit of books and touching friend of thought
Sincere homage
LF Celine
Correspondent of André Gide and friend of Henri Michaux (whose pirate editions he produced), José David was a Brussels bookseller and collector of first editions of contemporary authors: Michaux affectionately called him "Mr. le bibliophile".
In a letter addressed to José David in February 1937, Céline declined a proposal for a conference in Brussels: the dedication he sent him for his copy of Journey to the End of the Night probably dates from this period or a little later, which is confirmed by the handwriting. Inscribed on a mitre-mounted leaf at the head of the cover, it is obviously later than Huser's binding.
This one could have been made for José David himself or for Raoul
Simonson, one of his suppliers with whom he was linked. Thus, in a letter he sent him on 30 July 1938, Raoul Simonson praised Huser's work: "He is the Mozart of bookbinding! He has the technique and the charm." José
David then inserted Céline's dedication in the bound copy.
Afterwards, José David moved to the United States. His library remained in the hands of his wife, Anna David Marber, a famous fashion designer in Brussels, who disposed of it in 1954 in an anonymous sale at Paul van der Perre.
The copy also bears a small modern bookplate with the Bourbon-arms-
A fine copy in a signed binding from the time despite the slightly faded spine.
(On José David, see the notice by Pascal de Sadeleer in the catalogue
Moureau et Bellefroid cited above, nº 408 as well as: Bruno Liesen,
Raoul Simonson (1896-1965), libraire, bibliographe et éditeur in "Le Livre et l'Estampe", January 2014 and the biographical notice in the OEuvres de Michaux, Pléiade, p. 1201).
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