Chatterton. Drama. Paris, Hippolyte Souverain, 1835. In-8, garnet half-maroquin with long grain, smooth spine decorated with gilt fillets, gilt title in a small compartment, gilt head, untrimmed, cover (Pagnant).
First edition, with an etched frontispiece by Édouard-May printed on chine collé.
Chatterton was hastily composed in 1834 - in seventeen nights, it is claimed - by Alfred de Vigny who wished to provide his lover, Marie Dorval, with a great female role. The drama, inspired by the life of Thomas Chatterton, a cursed poet who committed suicide in 1770 at the age of eighteen, provided the author with an opportunity to denounce the fate of misunderstood poets.
Copy enriched with 2 L.A.S. from Alfred de Vigny:
- A letter dated April 15, 1838 (one page in-8), by which Vigny sends an invitation for a performance of Chatterton: Here, Madam, is your lodging for this evening, I will go and see if you are well accommodated there and, if you have a place for me, I will be able to know if the black dream of Chatterton has tired you.
- A letter to his publisher Hippolyte Souverain (2 pages in-12): I was going to write to you, Sir, to ask you to come to my house. I have just been quite ill [...]. I have a lot to tell you about the manuscript you are talking about and about other matters. It is in July that Madame Dorval leaves for the provinces. She will play Chatterton often, you may be sure.
From the library of Doctor Périer (1977, n°258).
Spine faded. Angular restoration on the title page.