Lot n° 201
80000 - 100000
VIGNY Alfred de (1797-1863).
autograph manuscript signed "Alfred de Vigny", Servitude et grandeur militaires, [1833-1835]; 226 folios (approx.
31 x 20 cm) mounted on laid paper, bound in 3 volumes in-fol. jansenist eggplant morocco, five-ribbed spine, gilt title, empire green morocco lining with gilt fillet, gold silk endpapers with floral design, double endpapers (Marius
Precious working manuscript of the three short stories forming this great masterpiece.
Resulting from a novel project, La Vie et La Mort d'un soldat, conceived in the autumn of 1830, Servitude et grandeur militaires is indeed composed of three short stories, published in La Revue des deux mondes from 1833 to 1835:
Laurette ou Le cachet rouge (March 1, 1833), La Veillée de Vincennes (April 1, 1834) and La Vie et la Mort du capitaine Renaud, ou La Canne de jonc (October 1, 1835) ; the original edition was published in October 1835, by Félix
Bonnaire and Victor Magen, with the addition of three preliminary chapters ("Pourquoi j'ai rassemblé ces souvenirs", "Sur le caractère général des armées" and "De la servitude du soldat et de son caractère individuel"), and of another chapter "Sur la responsabilité" preceding La veillée de Vincennes. These theoretical chapters do not appear in our manuscript, which presents the three stories in their original state, as they were published separately in the Revue des deux mondes.
I. Laurette, or The Red Seal. 49 leaves. The manuscript includes a title leaf with epigraph: "Servitude et Grandeur militaires // Ave Cæsar morituri te salutant" (on the verso, a beginning of a sentence for La Canne de jonc); a second title bearing: Souvenirs de Servitude militaire, accompanied by the same epigraph (and accounts); a third title bearing:
Laurette ou Le cachet rouge, followed by a crossed-out subtitle: Histoire de Régiment; and then the novella itself, 46 pages numbered from 1 to 43 (with a few bis; and a crossed-out pagination in the upper left-hand corner from 16 to 61) with 370 autograph corrections, including numerous crossed-out lines, additions and modifications, as well as three important passages deleted. At the top of the first page of the text, one can decipher three original titles crossed out: L'ordre cacheté, Une rencontre and Abnégation;
Vigny also noted: "J'ai fait quelques changemens sur les épreuves". The final signature "Cte Alfred de Vigny" was then crossed out. The short story is divided in 3 chapters:
I Of the Meeting I made one day on the great road (p. 1-7); II History of the sealed order (p. 8-34 (4)); III How I continued my road (p. 35-43).
II. La Veillée de Vincennes. 68 leaves: a title page : La Veillée de Vincennes; 67 pages on the front of leaves (some with LSV watermark or on laid paper), paginated 4-5 to 71 (and 66 to 132 in the upper left corner), with 520 autograph corrections, including a deleted passage, numerous crossed-out lines, modifications and additions. The final signature "Alfred de Vigny" has been crossed out. The short story is divided into 12 chapters: I The scruples and honor of a soldier (p. 4-5 to 11); II On the love of danger (p. 12-16); III The family concert (p. 17-23);
IV History of the adjutant. - Les enfans de Montreuil (p. 24-27); V Un soupir (p. 27-28);
VI La Dame rose (p. 28-33); VII La Position du premier rang (p. 34-40); VIII Une séance [titles crossed out: Un grand succès au théâtre and La répétition] (p. 41-45); IX Une belle soirée (p. 46-55); X Fin de l'histoire de l'Adjudant (p. 56-58); XI Le Réveil (p. 59-66); XII Un dessin au crayon (p. 66-71).
III. La Vie et la mort du Capitaine Renaud, ou La Canne de jonc. 109 leaves. A title leaf: "Chapitre 2. La vie et la mort du Capitaine Renaud, ou La Canne de jonc", and 108 pages numbered from 1 to 3 and from 1 to 104 (with bis and omissions). The short story, preceded by the preliminary chapter: Grandeur militaire, bearing at the head the indication "Troisième Livre" (p. 1-3), is divided into 9 chapters, numbered after the previous one: II Une nuit mémorable (p. 1-11), page 2 bearing at the bottom this note in pencil: "Voir si ce n'est pas trop répété quand la suite reviendra"; III Malte (p. 12-16);
IV Simple letter (p. 17-24 bis); V The Unknown Dialogue (p. 25-42) [gripping account of the interview of Napoleon and the Pope]; VI A man of the sea (p. 43-71); VII Reception (p. 72-74); VIII The Russian Guard Corps (p. 75-85); IX A marble (p. 86-92); "Last chapter. Conclusion" (p. 92 bis-104).
These three manuscripts, in brown ink on the front of large sheets without margin, the third one on a different paper from the two others, were used for the printing of the Revue des deux mondes, as the indications and the names of the typographers on several pages show. They present numerous erasures and corrections (nearly 1750), additions (of which the changes of pagination in particular testify), and other changes.
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