Lot n° 119
15000 - 20000
Result with fees
: 16 900EUR
LAMARTINE Alphonse de (1790-1869).
191 L.A.S or L.A. (the first ones signed "Alphonse de L", then "Alphonse" or "Alph", "Lamartine" or "L" or an initials), 1819-1843 and s.d, to his fiancée Marianne BIRCH then his wife Mme de LAMARTINE; about 390 pages in-4 or in-8, with numerous addresses or envelopes (with a few wax stamps), mounted on tabs on strong paper sheets, the whole bound in 3 volumes in-fol.
garnet chagrin, boards framed with a frieze of cold ornaments and gilt fillet, ornate smooth spines, bordered slipcases (J. Ardouin & Cie, 1980; slight spotting and skilful restorations to some letters).
Precious and important love correspondence from Lamartine to his fiancée and then his wife, partly unpublished.
[It is during the summer of 1819, in Aix, that Lamartine will court Mary-Ann known as Marianne Birch (1790-1863), whom he met in February, and that he will ask for her hand in marriage. He will marry her on June 6, 1820 in Chambéry, before going to Naples where he has been appointed as an embassy attaché, after having published in March the Meditations poétiques. They will have two children: Alphonse (1821-1822) and Julia (1822-1832). Marianne died in 1863, six years before her husband, whose assistant and devoted secretary she was. We can only give here a too quick overview of this beautiful and important correspondence]
Volume I contains the "Lettres à la fiancée", from August 1819 to May 1820 (the chronology was not always respected during the editing), that is to say 27 letters, including one to Mrs Birch, plus a letter from Mme de Lamartine mère (minute) to Mrs Birch, dried flowers with an ornamented and annotated envelope ("Alphonse Aix 14 août 1819").
The very first letter, "Pour remettre à la personne", is a declaration in form, made on August 14 (a little torn and repaired, it was kept with the envelope and the dried flowers mounted at the head of the volume) : "I dare to beg you Mademoiselle not to judge with severity the step to which the necessity forces me to resort, and to read at least this letter until the end. I could not see you without loving you, and each day as well as each word has contributed since, to strengthen in me this inclination which was at first involuntary, but which reason and will approve equally today. I cannot resolve to leave without at least having discovered it to you. I know that it would have been more appropriate to begin by talking about it to others than to you, but I also know that because of the difference in religion and country that exists between us, my first approaches to your mother would probably have been rejected at first, and as the happiness of my life depends on the success of these approaches, I had to make sure of your own feelings beforehand, and that I would have to obtain from you the permission to undertake them"... He alludes to his former passion for Julie Charles: "no obstacle can be as strong as the feeling that guides me; this feeling that I knew once in my life, could only be torn from my heart by the loss of what I loved; since that time, I have lived in a profound indifference; But I have known you, I have appreciated in you so many perfect qualities, so many connections between our tastes and our feelings, so many perfections unknown perhaps even to yourself, not to feel that I would be the happiest of men to obtain your hand and to unite my days and my destiny to yours!"...
The fifteen or so letters that followed were as many oaths of love, in which Lamartine also perfected the way to organize their correspondence discreetly. [Tuesday, August 17]. "I receive this adorable letter, I admire your courage and your generosity, [...] I repeat to you and I swear to you with perfect sincerity that I have devoted to you for life all that I have in my soul of love, tenderness, devotion, all myself finally! that, from the moment you accepted my feelings, they are and will be sacred and unchangeable for me, as if the holiest knots were already binding us together! that nothing will ever make me change, and that I believe as an honest man that I will be able to make you as happy (if the most constant attachment is enough for you) as I will be happy myself. It is true that I have loved once in my life and that I lost by death the object of this unique and constant love; since that time I have lived in the most perfect indifference, until the moment I met you, and I will never love elsewhere, if I am happy enough for your heart to respond to mine".... August 21, before leaving Aix: "Farewell! I will leave without seeing you again, I must, I would not have the courage to bid you a cold farewell in front of everyone, and we must not yet betray each other completely, perhaps I betrayed myself too much last night, and my pain was too much to be seen in my eyes; but what does it matter? they must know sooner or later that I love you. I would rather be able to confess this love, and rather not be able to say that I love you.
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