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STAËL, Anne-Louise-Germaine, Madame de (1766--1817)
Delphine, par Mme la Baronne de Staël Holstein. Cinquième édition. Tome premier (- troisième).
Paris:, H. Nicolle, à la librairie stéréotype,, 1819.
3 vols ; 20.1 cm. (8º)
I: [4], xix, [1], 395, [1] p.
II: [4], 395, [1] p.
III: [4], 381, [1] p.

Imprint on verso of the half-title: Imprimerie de Cabuchet, à Besançon. Originally published in Geneva in 1802, this is the first novel of Madame de Staël, who had already achieved literary recognition for her Lettres sur les ouvrages et le caractère de J.-J. Rousseau, 1788 (q.v.) and her influential treatise De la littérature considérée dans ses rapports avec les institutions sociales, 1800. The present work, an epistolary novel on the subject of religious freedom and the destiny of a woman, aroused controversy and Napoleon's condemnation to the extent of the author's exile of from Paris. "Madame de Staël was as emotional as she was intellectual, and her whole personality is reflected in her two highly sentimental novels, 'Delphine' (1802) and 'Corinne' (1807), both of which are largely autobiographical. Their heroines are superior beings in conflict with their environment - Delphine, in virtue of her pure self-sacrificing nature, bows before public opinion; Corinne, the poetess, defies it, but neither of them finds happiness. In spite of its overwrought sentiment and declamatory style, reminiscent of La Nouvelle Héloíse, which inspired it and to which it owes its epistolary form, 'Delphine' is interesting because of the war it wages on those social conventions and prejudices which are more binding than any laws." (Kathleen T. Butler, A history of French literature, Cambridge 1923, vol. 2, p. 15).

Copy Notes Bought as a five-volume set with the companion edition of Madame de Staël's second novel Corinne ou l'Italie, 1818 (q.v.) for £2 7s. on 4 December 1829 from 'Le Chev. Schlick'. (Priv. Corr. XVI.F.80). This is probably Chevalier Benjamin Schlick, a Danish-born architect, made a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur in 1828 by the French King Charles X in recognition of his architectural work in Paris. Schlick had offered Soane 'des Ouvrages français ... qu'il m'est penible d'être obligé à ... vendre; mais j'en fait [sic] le Sacrifice avec moins de regrèt puisquils sont destinés à rester dans Votre admirable Collection.' In addition to the two novels by Staël, Soane kept handsomely bound sets of Boileau (q.v.), Cervantes (q.v.; q.v.), Madame de Sévigné (q.v.), L.-A. Martin's Lettres à Sophie (q.v.), and Laveaux's Nouveau dictionnaire de la langue française (q.v.), paying a total of £14 11s.; he returned a copy of Lesage's Gil Blas (offered for £2 8s.) in three volumes. The letter continues, 'Je suis dans l'impatience d'avoir bientôt le plaisir de voir les deux Ouvrages en question et de vous communiquer mes Dessins sur Herculanum &c ...'. The 'two works' referred to are possibly editions of the French dramatists Racine and Corneille, with whose names Soane has endorsed the list of books appended to the letter; there is no evidence that drawings of Herculaneum by or previously belonging to Schlick were added to Soane's collection.

Binding C19th half black morocco, gilt-tooled spines, dark turquoise ribbed-morocco grain cloth boards, marbled edges to match the endpapers.

Reference Number 3779

Additional Names Schlick, Benjamin (1796--1872)

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