Lot n° 153
8000 - 10000
MÉRIMÉE Prosper (1803-1870).
100 L.A.S. (some unsigned), 1848-1870, to Francisque MICHEL; about 230 pages of various sizes, envelopes with stamps; the whole mounted on sheets of Japan paper and bound in 2 volumes in-4, red silk brocaded with floral motifs (one hinge worn)
Very important and remarkable correspondence, often very free.
[François-Xavier Michel, known as FRANCISQUE MICHEL (Lyon 1809-Paris 1887), chartist, medievalist and philologist, was entrusted with numerous missions on monuments and appointed member of the Historical Committee.
He was in charge of the course of foreign literature at the Faculty of Letters of Bordeaux, and published numerous works, among which the princeps edition of La Chanson de Roland (1837) and the Histoire des races maudites de la France et de l'Espagne (1847).]
This very interesting correspondence, "embracing almost all human knowledge, from archaeology or philology to history and the fine arts, discussing an old silk fabric as well as a Basque or Bohemian etymology, Palsgrave's grammar as well as a painting by Giorgione, mixing the driest erudition with the most serious jokes", was published by Pierre Trahard in 1930 (Paris, H. Champion). We can only give here a very brief overview.
Four letters are decorated with pen-and-ink drawings.
1848. Mérimée is looking for a History of Don Pedro published in Seville; he speaks about his research on the gypsies...
1849. About the Études de philologie comparée sur l'argot by F.
Michel, which Mérimée supports for the Volney Prize. La Bugorne and La Chicheface of the castle of Villeneuve-Lambron. Politics; portrait of Falloux... Philological dispute with Victor Cousin. Discussion on slang: "what I will call the law of formation of French slang, is metaphor, always burlesque"...
1850. Printing of the Études sur l'argot. Purchase of the Chanson de Roland at the Viollet-le-Duc sale. Return from a trip to London.
Research on precious fabrics in the Middle Ages. Mérimée returned to Russian and worked on the forgery Démétrius. Details on the affair
LIBRI. Mérimée campaigns for the nomination of Michel as a corresponding member of the Academy of Inscriptions; but there are "many more fools than men". Research on the weapons and blades of Damascus.
1851. On the first name of Prosper. Mérimée talks about his cats. He spent "six months splitting my ass on Russian books"... Military slang: crabs, tourlourous, winkles... The hat of Charlemagne in Metz, the clothes of Saint Bertrand in Comminges.
Gravelly stories of guardhouses. Etymology of cagne (horse).
Polemics and controversies around the Chanson de Roland. "I hold from my late friend BEYLE that it is never necessary to get angry for something that one says about your works. I had often occasion to practice this precept and did not find myself badly". The supposed thefts of Libri.
Leaflet of Conches accused of theft by Naudet. Archaeological trips to Laon and Sens. Mérimée read in Pontanus "the story of a man who had given his ring to a Venus of marble or bronze" (source of La Vénus d'Ille). On the cashmere shawls covering the tombs of the sultans in Constantinople (drawing). Anecdote of a German doctor taken prisoner "by Calmucks and fucked"...
Calm situation in Paris after the coup d'état; violence and riots in Digne and Clamecy: "Here is a great revolution made almost without bloodshed". Mérimée advises Michel to do like Mr. de Lameth who "fucked every day, but only on Sunday".
1852. Quinet and the Collège de France. Ministerial movements. Commented reading of the Recherches sur le commerce, la fabrication et l'usage des étoffes de soie, d'or et d'argent et autres tissus précieux...
of F. Michel. Sentence to fifteen days of prison in the case
Libri. Stay in prison, "the only cool place in Paris", where he learned the word "gougnotte". Villemain's anecdote with two little girls, one of whom only wanks while waiting for her first communion.
Moved to the rue de Lille. A saucy song. Larose's request for wine. Correction of the proofs of the Faux Démétrius. The celibacy. The "cloths brocaded with gold with ramages" in the Flemish and Italian painters of the Louvre Museum (drawings). Research on the city of Quinsai mentioned by Marco Polo...
1853. Marriage of Saulcy with "an 18 year old youth". Mérimée thinks of getting married, "especially in the morning"... Dirty joke about the nose of François Génin... "It is said that the Emperor is the result of the Election, and the Empress of the Erection"... The costume of the Tsars (drawing). Amusing letter about his appointment to the Senate. Priestly vestments of the XIIIth century found in the cathedral of Bayonne (drawings).
Bawdy stories : "But I am too old, and it is rare now
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