[Claire de Kersaint, duchesse de DURAS].

Lot 23
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[Claire de Kersaint, duchesse de DURAS].
Ourika. In Paris, De l'Imprimerie royale, no date [1823].
In-12 of 108 pp. in long-grained plum morocco, spine ribbed with rich gold and cold decoration, boards framed with seven gilt fillets with fleurons in the centre of each side and a cold scroll, inner edges and spine gilt, edges gilt (Purgold).
First edition of about forty copies not sold.
Elegant impression on vellum paper, executed by the Imprimerie Royale, which had never before published novels: in a letter to Rosalie de Constant, Mme de Duras refers to the edition as a "trial run" limited to 30 copies reserved for her friends.
A first issue copy: the quotation from Byron appears on the first page.
Voix de femmes.
The anonymous novel tells the story of Ourika, a young Senegalese girl brought up in refinement by the marshal of Beauvau during the Terror. Because of her unlikely love for Charles, the grandson, and as a victim of prejudice, she takes refuge in a convent to die of grief. Mme de Duras projects an image of a woman doomed never to achieve freedom, thus developing a female version of the evil of the century. Chateaubriand said of her in Les Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe that she was endowed with "a spirit that combined something of the strength of Mme de Staël's thought with the grace of Mme de La Fayette's talent".
Reissued by Ladvocat in 1824, the novel was a European success, immediately hailed by Goethe.
(Rahir, Bibliothèque de l'amateur, p. 411.- Carteret, I, 250: only one copy cited.- Escoffier, Le Mouvement romantique 1788-1850, n° 496: erroneous collation.)
A perfect copy, preserved in an exquisite contemporary binding signed by Purgold.
Active from 1810 to 1829, Purgold was one of the masters of Restoration binding. He was succeeded by Bauzonnet as gilder.
As the first edition appeared without a title page, Purgold bound the engraved frontispiece and the engraved title page of the third edition published by Ladvocat three years later, in 1826.
From the libraries of the Count de La Bédoyère, for whom the binding was executed by Purgold (cat. 1862, no. 1490), Hector De Backer (cat. III, 1926, no. 1445) and later Louis de Sadeleer, with ex-libris.
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