Paris: Le Livre du Bibliophile, Georges Briffaut, Éditeur, 1929. Limited edition. Softcover. 1/395. Folio (12 1/2 x 8 1/2"). , 113, pp. Original glassine over printed dust-jacket and blind wrappers. Engraved frontispiece. Title page in red and black lettering. Decorative initials. Book housed in its original cloth covered slipcase.
Originally published in 1832 in the newspaper "Le Constitutionnel," Balzac's novella "Le Colonel Chabert" is included in his series of novels known as "La Comédie Humaine" which depicts and parodies French society in the period of the Restoration (1815-1830) and the July Monarchy (1830-1848).
"Colonel Chabert" opens with a peculiar scene: "a soldier who is known to have died in battle unexpectedly returns to the office of a lawyer to reclaim his property. Disfigured and unrecognizable, the stranger insists that he is actually the famous colonel and asks the lawyer to help him to obtain a form of legal recognition that will restore to him his lawful identity, his property, and his wife. In this strange reincarnation of his own dead self, the character appealing to the lawyer hopes to become legally, and therefore, humanly, alive.
Unfolding from this haunting encounter, Balzac’s story dramatizes the attempt by a man who is legally dead to come alive before the law and the capacity and limits of the law to respond to this attempt at legal resuscitation.
Set in postrevolutionary France during the Restoration, this ghostly return of a Napoleonic soldier clearly echoes the historic repetitions that were taking place during this period: the return to the prerevolutionary past during the Restoration, itself ruptured by the return of Napoleon during the Hundred Days; and the protracted waves of revolutionary socioeconomic shocks to France in the wake of the French Revolution." (For more information, see: Cathy Caruth's "The Claims of the Dead")
This work is splendidly illustrated with one engraving and ten tissue-guarded Eaux-Fortes by French artist Fernand Hertenberger (1882-1970).
One of 395 copies on Vélin d'Arches, of which this is No. 152.
Minor shelf wear and soiling to slipcase. Previous owner's Ex-Libris to front free endpaper (Victor Thiriaux). Text in French. Slipcase in overall good+, glassine, dust-jacket, wrappers and interior in very good condition. g+ to vg. Item #44143