Exploits of Brigadier Gerard, The
London: George Newnes, Ltd., 1896. Item #04992
"Convinced that he is the Bravest Soldier, Greatest Swordsman, most Accomplished Horseman
and Most Gallant Lover in all France. "
DOYLE, Arthur Conan. The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard. London: George Newnes, Ltd., 1896.
First English edition. Octavo (7 1/2 x 5 1/8 inches; 190 x 130 mm.). [xiii], [1-3]-4-334, [2, blank] pp. [8, pp. publisher's catalog dated "10.2.96"]. Frontispiece and twenty-three plates by William Barnes Wollen.
Publisher's scarlet ribbed cloth, front cover lettered in gilt and with sword/helmet device stamped in black, spine lettered in gilt, rear cove r with publisher's device stamped in black, white endpapers, all edges untrimmed. A near fine copy.
"The publisher's catalog can be dated either 30.11.95, or 10.2.96. Copies bound later either have an undated catalogue (1897), or a catalogue dated 4/98." (Green & Gibson, p. 90).
7,500 copies were published on 15th February, 1896 priced 6/-
Brigadier Gerard is the comedic hero of a series of seventeen historical short stories, a play, and a major character in a novel by the British writer Arthur Conan Doyle. Brigadier Etienne Gerard is a Hussar officer in the French Army during the Napoleonic Wars. Gerard's most notable attribute is his vanity - he is utterly convinced that he is the bravest soldier, greatest swordsman, most accomplished horseman and most gallant lover in all France. Gerard is not entirely wrong, since he displays notable bravery on many occasions, but his self-satisfaction undercuts this quite often. Obsessed with honour and glory, he is always ready with a stirring speech or a gallant remark to a lady.
Conan Doyle, in making his hero a vain, and often rather uncomprehending, Frenchman, was able to satirise both the stereotypical English view of the French and – by presenting them from Gerard's baffled point of view – English manners and attitudes.
These stories were originally published in the Strand Magazine between December 1894 and September 1903. They were later issued in two volumes: The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard in February 1896 and The Adventures of Gerard in September 1903. Some of the titles were changed on re-publication. The last story, "The Marriage of the Brigadier", was published in September 1910. All the stories were published in The Complete Brigadier Gerard in 1995, which includes the story "A Foreign Office Romance" (1894) - a precursor to the stories, but not actually featuring Gerard.
George McDonald Fraser cited Brigadier Gerard as a major inspiration for his own fictional comedic adventurer Harry Flashman, and wrote the introduction to a 2001 collection of Gerard stories. Although rare, the Brigadier Gerard stories are still in print.
William Barnes Wollen (1857-1936) was an English painter mostly known for his paintings of battle and historical scenes and sporting events.