Item #806 Notre–Dame de Paris. Victor Hugo.
Notre–Dame de Paris

Notre–Dame de Paris

Paris: Gosselin, 1831. First Edition. Hardcover. 2 vols. 1st edition (in French) with the misnumbered pages (vol. II, 339 for 439, etc.), The 1st printing was 1,100 copies, divided into 4 issues of 275 each. Our copy is the 1st issue, the only issue without Hugo’s name on the title pages, and “2nd edition” “3rd edition” and “4th edition” were added on the 3 reprinted title pages in succession, along with Hugo’s name, and those additions are value killers. And if a seller’s accounting does not mention them, they are trying to sell you a suit of clothes that is only being shown to you inside out, and you can assume their set is wrong, and they have refused to assert the facts, and (alarmingly) they feel relaxed about not doing so. Now, book world is a small part of, and a reflection of, the wider world, and we live in strange times when ordinary common honesty is called courage. But that is no excuse for being sneaky, and sellers would be better served supplying all sides of all the details candidly or, failing that, staying open and dumb as a gutted bell. In fact, it is easier to be honest than it is to struggle with appearing honest and, on the path to getting there, it is also easier to behave your way into a new mode of thinking than it is to think your way into a new mode of behaving. A towering set in contemporary (first half of the 19th century) 3/4 calf, spines complexly blind tooled, joints smoothly strengthened but not rebacked, light wear, and rubs, spots to the calf spines, small paper flaws to a few blank margins, an occasional stain, and some scattered foxing (mostly to the first and last pages), but we are being scrupulous and picky, and it’s surely a very good set, tall, and complete with the volume half–titles (ads on versos), the fly–titles, and all 9 inner half–titles, a set as pleasing as cheerfulness in an old face. And take note: Almost all copies in fancier bindings are later bindings. RBH only lists one 1st issue in a contemporary binding sold at auction since 1975, and even if they missed a set, or missed 3, when you see a real 1st issue for sale in a contemporary binding, you can assume it is scarcer than a “smokers only” elevator. Ex–William Standish, a direct descendant of King Edward III. Very good. Item #806

A divine work of art and a revolutionary leap in world literature, amalgamating the Gothic and the realist into an historical romance reimagined from a foundation for it laid by Thomas Leland, Clara Reeve, Sophia Lee, Maria Edgeworth, Elizabeth Hamilton, Jane Porter, Walter Scott, and Fenimore Cooper. Everybody remembers Quasimodo, but this is really a fateful tale about the destiny and tragedy of Esmeralda. Hugo set it 350 years in the past but that sneaks up on you like leaking electricity because he makes the time so accessible while still managing to capture its remoteness.

Price: $26,000.00

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