Paris: Société des Amis des Livres, 1908. Limited edition. Hardcover. 1/110. Large quarto (11 x 7 3/4"). , 232, pp. Contemporary full olive morocco, with gold lettering and ruling to spine. Dentelles. Moire and marbled paper covered endpapers. Binding signed by Charles Meunier (1865-1940), a renown Parisian binder noted for his innovative and energetic approach to binding, with his impressive repertoire of binding tricks, including inlay, onlay, paint, gilding, marbling, tooling, and cuir ciselé. All paper edges gilt. Original decorative wrappers bound in. Tissue guarded engraved frontispiece portrait of the author. Vignette to red and black lettered title page. Illustrated head chapters. Text within decorative olive frame.
Originally published in 1852, "Poèmes Antiques" is the first volume of a trilogy of verses by Charles Marie Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894), famed for the sonorous and brilliantly visual qualities of his poetry, and a leader of the group of poets called the Parnassians.
Greek legend and myth inspired many of the poems in "Poèmes Antiques," such as "Hélène," "La Robe du centaure," "Kybèle," "Pan," and "Vénus de Milo." However, in the poem "Midi" Leconte de Lisle expressed a longing for annihilation, and in such poem as "Bhagavat," the poet expressed the Hindu concept of universal illusion.
This limited edition is splendidly illustrated throughout with 30 illustrations (16 hors-text, 9 head chapters, and 5 culs-de-lampe) by Maurice Ray.
One of 110 copies, of which this is No. 53 reserved for Mr. Jules Claretie.
Tipped in to last leaf is the original letter from the Société des Amis des Livres, dated November 20, 1908, inviting Mr. Jules Claretie to retrieve his copy of "Poèmes Antiques " at the Society's personal bookseller Mr. Carteret, rue Drouot in Paris.
Minor rubbing to head and tail of spine. Text in French. Binding and interior in very good condition. vg. Item #44145
* Jules Arsène Arnaud Claretie (1840-1913) was a renown French literary figure and director of the prestigious Théatre Français. "After studying at the lycée Bonaparte in Paris, Jules Claretie became a journalist, achieving great success as dramatic critic to "Le Figaro" and to the "Opinion nationale." He was a newspaper correspondent during the Franco-Prussian War, and during the Paris Commune acted as staff-officer in the National Guard. In 1885 he became director of the Théâtre Français, and from that time devoted his time chiefly to its administration until his death. During the battle for Octave Mirbeau's comedy "Les affaires sont les affaires" (Business is business), the Comité de Lecture was abolished, in October 1901, and Jules Claretie obtained sole responsibility for choosing the modern plays to be performed. He was elected a member of the Académie française in 1888, and took his seat in February 1889, being received by Ernest Renan." (From Wikipedia).