Lot n° 141
30000 - 40000
HUYSMANS Joris-Karl (1848-1907).
MANUSCRIT autograph signed "J.-K. Huÿsmans", L'Oblat, 1903; 283 folios in-fol. (31 x 23,8 mcm), mounted on tabs, bound in one volume in-fol. eggplant jansenist morocco, mustard morocco lining with gilt fillet frame, purple moire endpapers, double gilt fillet on the edges (Mercier successor to his father 1922; a few small accidents to the binding, spine slightly faded).
Complete manuscript of the novel, cleaned up for the edition, with the final additions and corrections.
Published in 1903 by Stock, L'Oblat is the last part, after En route and La Cathédrale, of the famous trilogy relating, through the character of Durtal, the conversion of the author. Huysmans himself, retired near the Benedictines of Ligugé, made his profession of oblate in March 1901. Durtal left Chartres for the abbey of Solesmes; he finds in the Benedictines an asylum that suits his soul and his intellectual preoccupations. He describes with exaltation the ceremonies of the abbey, the liturgy, the daily life of the monks. He paints, with some verve and humor, the portrait of these monks, whose life he is going to share, under the guidance of the Father Abbot, Dom Anthime Bernard. But the law Combes entails the expulsion of the religious congregations and is going to drive out the monks, that Durtal accompanies to the station. He finds himself alone, in the empty monastery, having to set out again in this Paris, which he believed to have abandoned forever...
The manuscript is carefully cleaned up, with black ink, on the front of sheets of lined paper, where a large margin on the left is reserved, intended for corrections and additions. It is paginated in blue (or red or yellow) pencil from 1 to 273 (plus a few second and third pages), and includes a false title, on the back of which has been pasted the printed list (and corrected by Stock) of the "last published works by the same author"; and a title page, carefully prepared by Huysmans, with the epigraph and the name of the publisher (including on the back the justification written by P.-V. Stock). The chapter numbers, from I to XVI, are written by Huysmans in red (or green or yellow) pencil. The manuscript presents erasures and corrections, often interlinear, passages crossed out in blue pencil, and marginal additions. Thus, a long addition in the margin completes the portrait of Father Miné (p. 39); an addition concerns the community founded by Saint Séverin in the sixth century (p. 87). Among the deletions, we note a few lines crossed out on the ceremonial of oblateness (p. 55), 8 lines on the liturgical year (p. 93), a long passage on the miracles of Father Paul de Moll, crossed out in green pencil (p. 97-98), as well as a long passage on the reactions of the faithful to the expulsion of the congregations and the closing of the churches (p. 177-178). Etc. These erasures and corrections establish the final text of the novel, which was used for the printing; some small variants with the edition will be introduced on proofs.
Provenance : René GIMPEL collection (listed on December 28, 1925 in his Journal d'un collectionneur).
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