2 June 2004
FLAUBERT, Gustave (1821-1880). Madame Bovary. Moeurs de Provence. Paris: widow Dondey-Dupré for Michel Lévy Frères, 1857.
2 volumes, 12° (186 x 119mm). Half-titles, dedication leaves to Louis Bouilhet and Senart, 36-page Lévy catalogue at end of vol. I, final blank tipped to rear wrapper. Uncut. (Faint spot in 3 leaves.) Original light green printed wrappers (very lightly spotted); modern blue morocco-backed chemises, blue paper slipcase.
FIRST EDITION IN BOOK FORM, first issue, of a masterpiece of French literature. In preparing Madame Bovary for publication as a book, following its appearance in the Revue de Paris, Flaubert made considerable changes to the text. He reinstated passages which had been suppressed in the Revue, introduced new paragraph divisions and punctuation, and made numerous corrections. Flaubert attached particular importance to lay-out and punctuation in conveying meaning, and he rigorously edited his text for its publication as a book. A distinguishing characteristic of the first issue is the misspelling of the dedicatee's name as Senart for Sénard. The trial against Flaubert for publishing an immoral book brought it immediate notoriety, and its brilliance has ensured its lasting fame. 'Madame Bovary est et restera un chef-d'oeuvre de la littérature française' (Carteret). Carteret I, p.263; Dumesnil & Demorest, p.25ff. (2)
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