Lot 621: French author (1808–1889) known for his mysteries that explored hidden motivations and hinted at evil. Supremely desirable AMS in French, signed "J. B. d. A.," five pages, 8 x 12.25, no date but circa 1880. Draft for the introduction to his 1880 pamphlet of literary criticism entitled Goethe et Diderot. In part (translated): "These two studies about Goethe and Diderot have been published separately at rather distant periods,—and in a journal, with a style of publication invented at an age pulverizing everything, even thought, but by their double subject, they imperatively required [the two studies] overall and unity of the book. It was expedient to place Goethe and Diderot within the scope of the same volume to bring them closer to each other that way, to make it a better judgment and give a more exact and clearer view of their identity because, hence differences of country and period, language and idea, influence and destiny, Goethe and Diderot—who dug and penetrated beyond—are minds of identical nature… Goethe,—the last to come of the two—is certainly the greatest in mankind opinion, as Charlemagne is greater than Pepin, but it is Diderot who is the predecessor and the father,—and yet is it [inserted] a father who has not given all his temperament to his son! Goethe, without Diderot, could exist maybe as Diderot himself, but the both of them are no less minds of same substance and same race,—and so much, than while writing about Goethe, the Voltaire of Germany, who had no one to counterbalance his glory, it is impossible not to think of Diderot, who had Voltaire next to him to kill his by comparison!" Handsomely custom-bound in dark red leather with a matching slipcase. Repaired separations to intersecting folds and a few repaired tears, uniform toning, and a bit of paper loss to corners, otherwise fine condition. Barbey d'Aurevilly was known as a harsh literary critic and earned the nickname 'The Constable of Literature' while writing for for Le Constitutionnel. With the exception of the opening paragraph, this introduction focuses almost entirely on Goethe and his reception as a genius in Germany and France. It is a fascinating attack on Goethe's status as a literary great and is a fine embodiment of Barbey d'Aurevilly's criticism, as he never hesitated to go against the tide of popular opinion.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 462
Wednesday, 14th October 2015
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