Paris: J. Hetzel et Paulin, 1842. Item #03791
The Private and Public Lives of the Animals
Grandville's Witty and Telling Commentary on Contemporary Politics and Personalities
GRANDVILLE, J.J. Scènes de la vie Privée et Publiques des Animaux. Études de moeurs contemporaines publiés sous la direction de M. P.-J. Stahl… Paris: J. Hetzel, et Paulin, 1842.
First edition. Two large octavo volumes (10 5/16 x 6 15/16 inches; 262 x 176 mm.). [viii], 386, [6, Table de Matières]; , 390, [6, Table de Matières] pp. Two hundred wood engraved plates (including the two additional titles) and numerous head & tailpieces, vignettes, initials, etc., by Brévière and others after designs by Grandville.
Publisher's half dark green morocco over green cloth boards ruled in gilt. Smooth spines decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt, marbled end-papers, top edge gilt. Small split in lower hinge of volume one, some very occasional light foxing, otherwise a fine set.
"The moving force behind this book was its publisher P.-J. Hetzel, who himself contributed many chapters under the pseudonym of P.-J. Stahl… Through Grandville’s animals, Hetzel and his colleagues offered a witty and telling commentary on contemporary politics and personalities. Bouchot described the result as the best satire on French manners during the middle of the century, recalling "the anger to which it gave rise, the outbursts of laughter it provoked and the lawsuits of which it ran the risk." These allusions pass largely unnoticed today, but Grandville’s animals remain as amusing as ever, thanks to the wit and verve of his compositions. The types and situations he depicts are indeed "of every period and every country… The final plate shows the artist at the zoo of the Jardin des Plantes. He is sketching the visiting creatures who in turn are peering at cages containing Hetzel, Balzac, Jules Janin, and other authors of the Scènes de la vie privée et publique des animaux. It should be noted that the engravings for this book are by Brévière, the one craftsman whose renderings of his work Grandville refused to criticize." (Ray. p. 273).
Ray, The Art Of The French Illustrated Book 1700 to 1914, 194 (citing incorrect number of plates). Carteret III 553.