FEYDEAU Ernest (1821-1873). AUTOGRAPHIC MANUSCRIPT,... - Lot 79 - Drouot Estimations

Lot 79
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FEYDEAU Ernest (1821-1873). AUTOGRAPHIC MANUSCRIPT,... - Lot 79 - Drouot Estimations
FEYDEAU Ernest (1821-1873). AUTOGRAPHIC MANUSCRIPT, [La Comtesse de Chalis, ou les Moeurs du jour], 1867; 160 pages in-fol mounted on tabs, bound in contemporary red jansenist morocco, spine with 6 bands, interior lace (Belz-Niédrée; binding a little rubbed). Complete working manuscript of this novel. This very successful novel was given as a bonus, in November 1867, by the newspaper La Liberté, then published in December in bookshops by Michel Lévy frères. On December 13th, Flaubert congratulates Feydeau : "I am delighted. [...] It is light and well done and amusing and true. Here and there some exquisite words. The Countess of Châlis excites me excessively, I who have, like her, "the most inconceivable of depravities". What pleases me there, it is the feeling of the Modernity". And on December 15, he writes to his friend Duplan: "the artist Feydeau has a real success with The Countess of Châlis". According to the author, La Comtesse de Châlis made "a noise of the devil as well as of many other things", because one believed to recognize there many characters of the contemporary high society. This first-person narrative tells the story of Charles Kérouan, son of an excellent family, who becomes a professor of history. He meets the Countess of Châlis with her lover Prince Titiane. The Countess asks him to recover compromising letters and her portrait; after the Prince's departure, Charles becomes the Countess's lover. Then he leaves teaching, loses at gambling and sinks into poverty. The Count of Châlis finds him and hires him as a tutor for his children, but he also asks him to spy on his wife. Charles overhears a sadomasochistic scene where the countess is beaten by Titiane. He challenges Titiane to a duel, who wounds him; he then leaves Paris and takes refuge with his father. He will learn later that the Count of Châlis, exasperated by the scandalous conduct of his wife, caught her in bed indulging in debauchery between Florence and Titiane, strangled Titiane, and had the Countess committed to Doctor Blanche's nursing home. Before dying, the count wrote to Charles, asking him, in order to expiate his adultery, to tell the sad story he had witnessed, without toning it down. The manuscript, dated at the end "Trouville October 15, 1867", is written on large sheets of paper ruled with brown or blue ink. It is complete, though paginated from 2 to 160, and is overloaded with erasures and corrections, with passages crossed out, numerous additions in the margins, and important new redactions pasted on the original version.
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