Lot n° 140
30000 - 40000
HUYSMANS Joris-Karl (1848-1907).
autograph manuscript, [La Cathédrale, 1897]; 362 leaves in-fol. (31 x 21 cm) in quires, in ivory vellum slipcase with flaps, the title calligraphed on the spine in gothic letters.
Important working manuscript of the novel
The genesis of The Cathedral was long. Huysmans wanted to complete Durtal's spiritual itinerary, begun by the quest for the supernatural in Là-bas, and whose conversion he had recounted in En route. He wrote on July 18, 1895 to Dom Besse: "I return to plunge myself into an enormous work for which I already piled up many materials. I would like to complete En route with a study on religious painting and cathedrals - to do the Primitives and to give all the symbolism of colors - as well as all the symbolism of stones"... He also declared: "the influence of my cathedral will be such on Durtal that it will definitively lead my hero to the Trappists [...] This will be the subject of The Oblate. As much as Durtal, autobiographical double of the author, the central character of the book is "the cathedral of Chartres, the most beautiful of all, the most readable, and grouping the others around it"...
Given to the printer on September 20, 1897, The Cathedral, of which extracts were published in L'Echo de Paris and Le Correspondant, was published by P.-V. Stock in February 1898.
The manuscript is presented in 16 quires corresponding to the 16 chapters, formed of double sheets. The leaves are written on the recto side, and paginated by Huysmans with colored pencils from 1 to 356; a gap (ff. 195 to 198) corresponds to the text La Mystique des foules given to L'Écho de Paris; many leaves bis and ter are interspersed. The white sheet covering the first notebook carries the indication in blue pencil: "to burn".
The manuscript testifies to an important work of revision. It presents important variants compared to the printed version, and many erasures and corrections, some modifications being stuck on the previous version; many additions are made in margin or by the insertion of additional pages; many and important deletions are made, mainly with the colored pencils (blue, red, green, orange...).
A page numbered (in yellow) 75 has been added, a clean-up - with corrections - of page 74 of our manuscript.
Provenance: Daniel SICKLES (II, 385).
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