The Human Comedy (La Comédie Humaine) by Honorè De Balzac
Translated into English by Katherine Prescott Wormley
40 Volumes, Complete Collection
The Aquarelle Extra Illustrated Edition – Number 1 of 10
Published by R.G. Newbegin, New York and London in 1906
Stunning Custom Full Leather Bindings
Binding Details: Stunning custom full leather bindings in crushed morocco leather with decorated raised hubs to the spine that also feature gilt ruled compartments, gilt titling, and elaborate gilt decorations. The front and rear covers are tripled gilt ruled with complex gilt decorative patterns of fluer-de lys, fluerons, a floral scrolling pattern of entwining foliage, and green and white leather onlays. The cover motif carries over to thewide dentelles and turn-ins that frame a beautiful hand water-colored illustration that was developed using the Goupil process that gives them the appearance of an original aquarelle. There are silk moiré endpapers, built in satin bookmarks, and the top page ends are gold gilted.
Collection Details: This is the 40 volume Aquarelle Extra Illustrated Edition of Blazac’s magnus opus The Human Comedy (La Comédie Humaine) published by R.G. Newbegin in 1906 with a limitation of 10 copies this being number 1. Each volumes is lavishly illustrated with hand-watercolor illustrations by some of the great French artists of the time including Pierre Georges Jeanniot and Geoffroy De Saint-Hilaire each of which is protected by a tissue guard. Lisa Hill and Dagny Vauquer spearheaded an extensive project on La Comédie Humaine and Goodreads provided the following summary, “Balzac’s most famous work is a sequence of almost 100 novels and plays collectively entitled La Comédie Humaine (The Human Comedy) which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815. Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters; even his lesser characters are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. Inanimate objects are imbued with character as well; the city of Paris, a backdrop for much of his writing, takes on many human qualities. His writing influenced many famous authors, including the novelists Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Henry James and Jack Kerouac, as well as important philosophers such as Friedrich Engels. Many of Balzac's works have been made into films, and they continue to inspire other writers.”
Each volume measures approximately 9.25” x 6.5” and includes a table of contents and list of illustrations. Each volume contains a limitation page which indicates that this is number 1 of 10.
Condition Report: The bindings are in FINE condition with a few volumes having superficial surface wear mostly confined to rubs to the corner tips. Due to the process of integrating the watercolor illustration to the inside front cover there is a resultant bowing to the board that does affect the shelf appeal of the collection. Internally, the books are very clean with some mild age toning to the page edges. There are no bookplates or signs of previous ownership.
A photograph of the collection and the limitation page appear in the photo section of the listing.