Paris: Publié par J. Hetzel, 1845. Item #00414
The Devil in Paris
With 208 Wood-Engraved Plates After Gavarni
[GAVARNI (pseudonym of Guillaume Sulpice Chevallier), and others, illustrators]. Le Diable à Paris. Paris et les Parisiens. Mœurs et coutumes, caractèes et portraits des habitants de Paris, tableau complet de leur vie privée, publique, politique, artistique, littéraire, industrielle, etc., etc. Texte par MM. George dDe Balzac, Taxile Delord, Alphonse Karr, Méry, A. Juncetis, Gérard de Nerval, Arsène Houssaye, Albert Aubert, Théophile Gautier, Octave Feuillet, Alfred de Musset, Frédéric Bérat, précédé d’une Histoire de Paris par Théophile Lavallée. Illustrations Les Gens de Paris, Séries de gravures avec légendes par Gavarni. Paris comique, vignettes par Bertall. Vues, monuments, édifices particuliers, lieux célèbres et principaux aspects de Paris par Champin, Bertrand, d’Aubigny, Français. Paris: Publié par J. Hetzel, 1845-1846.
First edition. Two large octavo volumes (10 3/8 x 6 7/8 inches; 263 x 175 mm.). , xxxii, 380; , lxxx, 364 pp. Wood-engraved title vignette in each volume, 212 wood-engraved plates (208 after Gavarni and four after Bertall), with tissue guards, and numerous wood-engraved head- and tail-pieces, vignettes, and initials. This copy with a duplicate of the plate facing in Volume I. Music.
Contemporary half black hard-grain morocco, ruled in gilt, over black morocco-grain paper over boards. Smooth spines decoratively tooled in gilt and blind and lettered in gilt. Marbled edges and endpapers. Minor rubbing to extremities, head of spine of Volume II expertly and almost invisibly repaired, front hinge of Volume I cracked, but sound. Minimal foxing and soiling. Small area of surface abrasion to upper blank margin of plate “Artistes, —6” facing p. 160 in Volume II, where it was once adhered to the facing page. Bookplate (“Bibliothèque de A. Vautrain”) on front pastedown of each volume. Overall, an excellent copy.
“Hetzel’s two volumes are something of a potpourri. There are texts by well-known writers including Balzac, Gautier, Musset, George Sand, and Hetzel himself. There is much detailed information about Paris of a historical, geographical, and statistical nature, but the bulk of the book is made up of essays, stories, and dialogues with Parisian subjects, sometimes documentary in the manner of Les français peints par eux-mêmes (227), sometimes facetious. The illustrations are also heterogeneous. The most impressive are the 208 wood-engraved plates after Gavarni. There are also wood engravings in the text, said by Hetzel to number 800, which are largely the work of Bertall, though Champin, Bertrand, and occasionally Daubigny provided architectural and topographical designs.
"The book appeared in part-issues, at the rate of one or two a week, between April of 1843 and December of 1845. The major attraction of Le diable à Paris resides in Gavarni’s plates, which are of even greater interest than the 320 wood engravings of his Oeuvres choisies (207). The engraving is superior for the most part, and they are new conceptions, not versions of his lithographs. He limits himself almost entirely to single figures or pairs, evoked with his usual concentration and psychological subtlety. He had a free hand with his subjects, since his designs are quite unrelated to Hetzel’s text. As usual he arranged them is series, some of which (those devoted to writers and politicians, for example) are largely unprecedented in his previous repertory. He invaded Daumier’s world with success in the fifteen plates of ‘Bourgeois,’ exampled in the self-satisfied worthy reproduced (II, 328).
"Other sequences, such as ‘Ceintures dorées’ (II, 104), anticipate the spirit and the subjects of Masques et visages (157). Hetzel’s way of imposing unity on these varied materials was to present them as documents bearing on the Devil’s visitation of Paris. Gavarni’s only contribution to this aspect of the book was a melodramatic frontispiece which depicts his satanic majesty with his foot on a map of the city. Bertall, on the other hand, outdid himself in the variety and wit with which he commented on instances of diabolical intervention, beginning with his opening conception of the Hellish boredom from which the Devil was escaping (I, 1). His designs make Le diable à Paris the culmination of the Romantic tradition of diablerie, which began with the lithographic albums of the 1820s. It is also the last of the big books of collaborative illustration” (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book).
Hiler, p. 237 (“Volume 2 has been published separately under title: Le tiroir du diable”). Lipperheide 1170e. Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, 236. Vicaire I, cols. 241-243.