Simple Heart, A

One of Only 20 Copies
In a Sumptuously Magnificent Art Nouveau Binding

[BINDINGS]. FLAUBERT, Gustave. A Simple Heart. Paris: Société des Beaux Arts, 1895.

Edition de Deux Mondes, limited to twenty copies only, this copy indicated with a star. Quarto. Printed on velin. With eleven in-text illustrations in three states (full color, black and white, and single color) and twelve plates in two states, one color and one black and white, all with tissue guards.

Bound in a sumptuous azure crushed morocco lavishly gilt and inlaid in the Art Nouveau style, covers with large central fleur-de-lys in gilt and maroon morocco within an elaborate frame of lily bouquets and garlands inlaid in maroon, orange, and white; raised bands, spine gilt in compartments, the smaller ones at head and tail with an inlaid maroon fleur-de-lys, large central compartment with a spray of lilies in maroon and white, and two compartments with gilt titling. Broad wide turn-ins with elaborate gilt floral and foliate decoration. Burnt orange morocco doublures, front doublure featuring an oval inset of white kidskin (or perhaps vellum) with a hand-colored engraving of a female figure. Ivory watered silk endleaves, blue marbled endpapers. Top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed and unopened. Spine mildly darkened, a hint of rubbing to extremities,otherwise a fine copy.

This is a most attractive extra-deluxe edition of a story originally published in 1877 as part of the Flaubert's "Trois Contes," the final volume of work that Flaubert (1821-80) saw published during his lifetime (the other two stories were "La Légende de Saint-Julien-l'Hospitalier" and "Hérodias"). Kunitz quotes Martin Turnell as saying that "A Simple Heart," a story of a good woman's suffering and self-denial, is "Flaubert's only perfect work of art." The Oxford Companion to English Literature says that the work is "a masterpiece of studied simplicity." First printed in an 1894 edition of "Trois Contes," the engravings by our long-lived illustrator Émile Adan (1839-1937) are well known and much admired. According to Ray, when a survey was conducted in 1895 of the best illustrated French books of the Belle Epoque, Adan's Flaubert placed fifth.

The Société des Beaux Arts produced lovely limited editions, usually numbering around 500 copies. Ours is a supremely luxurious, strictly limited issue with an elegant Art Nouveau binding. Item #02223

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