La Princesse de Clèves
Paris: Éditions Nilsson, circa 1930. Octavo, measuring 9 x 6.75 inches: , 186, . Original buff wrappers, spine lettered in black, color pictorial pastedown to upper wrapper. Half-title and title page printed in red and black. Twelve color pochoir illustrations pasted throughout text. Uniformly toned, light edgewear.
First edition of this Art Deco edition of Madame de Lafayette's seventeenth-century romance, a high spot of French literature often considered the first psychological novel. The highly stylized pochoir plates are the work of Edith Follet (1899-1990), who was briefly married to the French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline in her youth, giving birth to their daughter Colette in 1920. Follet went on to a prolific career in popular illustration. In addition to La Princesse de Clèves, she would illustrate works by Ovid, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, and Charles Baudelaire. This edition was issued as part of Nilsson’s “Collection Emeraude.” Text in French. A near-fine copy.