Lot 4004: LS in French, one page, 8.5 x 13.5, July 22, 1870. Hugo's open letter entitled "To the Women of Guernsey," written from his home at Hauteville House on the eve of the Franco-Prussian War. In part (translated): "It has pleased to a few men to sentence to death part of mankind, and an outrageous war is brewing. This war is not a war of liberty, nor a war of duty, it is a war of caprice. Two nations are going to kill each other for two prince's pleasure. While thinkers perfect civilization, kings perfect war. This one will be atrocious. Chef-d'oeuvre is announced. A rifle kills twelve men, a canon will kill a thousand. What will flow in the Rhine, it is not pure and free water from the great Alps, anymore, it is blood of men. Mesdames, some mothers, sisters, daughters, women, are going to cry. You are all going to be in mourning, the ones here because of their misfortune, the ones there because of the misfortune of others. Mesdames, what carnage! What shock for all these unfortunate combatants! Allow me to send a prayer to you. Since these blinds forget that they are brothers, be their sisters, come to help them, make shreds from all the old household linen, of no use here, which can save lives of wounded over there. All the women of this country working on this brotherly act of kindness, it will be beautiful; it will be a great example and a great service. Men do evil, you women, do the remedy; and since there are bad angels on this earth, be the good ones. If you want, and you will want, a little time we can have a considerable quantity of shredded linen…We will make two equal parts; and we will send one to France and one to Prussia." In very good condition, with repaired partial separations to intersecting folds.
Hugo had been living in Guernsey since 1855 when he was declared a traitor and exiled by Napoleon III. This became one of his most productive periods, and he released Les Miserables to great success in 1862. This open letter to the women of Guernsey, written three days after the Franco-Prussian War commenced, was published in many French newspapers. His humanist sentiments again caused some to brand him a traitor. Although Napoleon III was his political nemesis, Hugo was an ardent champion of French Republicanism and cherished his home nation. He did benefit, however, when Napoleon III was captured by the Prussians at the beginning of September 1870. With the emperor deposed and the French Third Republic established, Hugo made his triumphant return to Paris.
RR Auction's Mario Puzo Archive And Literary Rarities Auction 470
Thursday, 18th February 2016
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