Lot 4003: Very early ALS in French, signed "Victor M. Hugo," one page both sides, 5 x 8, October 16, 1822. Letter to a French official. In full (translated): "The new and important position that you perform with such eminence, and on the other hand all the occupations that are fighting for my time have prevented me to my regret to cultivate your kind acquaintance as I would have liked. Allow me today to please remember me in asking if you would have the kindness of a service for a poor man, which will be a service for me at the same time. Mr. Lebarbier, bookseller in Blois, not licensed, was recently deprived as several others of the right to continue his business, he is a former serviceman, decorated, a good mind, wife and family and backed by very respectable referrals. The good man is ruined if his license cannot be granted to him. He came to me, imagining that I had credit, and I, I am turning to you, sir, hoping that you have some credit for a man who deserves your interest in so many regards. Please, sir, be so kind to let me know if I should send Mr. Lebarbier to you and believe in my sincere affection, esteem and high regard." Professionally inlaid into a slightly larger sheet. In fine condition.
Though he was only twenty years old at the time of this letter, Hugo was already recognized as an up-and-coming writer. He had won the highest prize at the 1818 Academy of the Floral Games, one of the most esteemed literary institutions in France, and King Louis XVIII was a vocal admirer of his work. In this letter, Hugo references a policy that had been instituted by Napoleon requiring any would-be bookseller to obtain an official license and swear loyalty to the regime, in an effort to suppress the printing and distribution of rebellious material. Various incarnations of these censorship programs remained in place until 1881, and would affect the publication of several of Hugo's later works. At this time, however, he was a friend of the regime and hoped his growing reputation could earn the bookseller Lebarbier one of these sought-after licenses. In addition to its fantastic book-related content, letters by Hugo from such an early date are extremely scarce.
RR Auction's Mario Puzo Archive And Literary Rarities Auction 470
Thursday, 18th February 2016
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