[Etienne-Léon, baron de LAMOTHE-LANGON]
Mémoires et souvenirs d'une femme de qualité sur le consulat et l'empire - Mémoires d'une femme de qualité sur Louis XVIII, sa cour et son règne - Mémoires d'une femme de qualité depuis la mort de Louis XVIII jusqu'à la fin de 1829
Mame et Delaunay-Vallée, Paris 1829-1830, 14x22cm, 10 volumes reliés.
(Marie-Louise de HABSBURG-LORRAINE, Empress of France) [LAMOTHE-LANGON Etienne-Léon, baron de] Mémoires et souvenirs d’une femme de qualité sur le Consulat et l’Empire – Mémoires d’une femme de qualité sur Louis XVIII, sa cour et son règne – Mémoires d’une femme de qualité depuis la mort de Louis XVIII jusqu’à la fin de 1829
Mame et Delaunay-Vallée, Paris 1829-1830, 14 x 22 cm, 10 volumes, half morocco
First edition for these three texts which appeared separately – they have been brought together here as a trilogy. A rare collection of these apocryphal anecdotal memoirs spanning thirty or so years of life at Court.
Uniformly bound in half red morocco, spine with gilt roulettes, crowned monogram of Marie-Louise de Habsburg-Lorraine, ex-Empress of France and Duchess of Parma after Napoleon’s abdication in 1815.
This copy was bound in chronological order of the historical events as related, without reference to the date order of publication of the various volumes. Two other volumes, not part of this set, were published in 1831: Révélations d’une femme de qualité sur les années 1830 et 1831 [Revelations of a noble lady on the years 1830 and 1831]
Quérard gives copious details on the writing of these memoirs. The manuscript of the three works was entirely written by Lamothe Langon, but “with so much haste and so little care" that the publishers were obliged to have the text revised by Amédée Pichot. The stylistic changes made, Pichot added a few chapters of his own, as well as Charles Nodier. Finally, the task of re-molding the memoirs fell to Messrs. Hinard, Gainaut and Ferrier, with another stylistic brush-up by Pichot.
The invention, or subterfuge, of the narrator being a “noble lady” allowed the author to give a realistic and intimate portrait of the court that developed around Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as that of Louis XVIII and the Restoration. The writings have a real feel of verisimilitude, while criticisms are never formulated directly, but are rather implicit in the way the heroine perceives events. The direct testimony of women on historical events was very much in fashion at the time, like for example the Mémoires d’une contemporaine
, which appeared in 1827 and 1828 and were very popular. A woman of high birth, mentored by Madame de Staël, our heroine is introduced into the Court of Bonaparte. The literary pretense is perfect in the sense that we are able to follow chronologically the evolution of the character throughout the historical events, in the very heart of the Court.The handsome copy of the former Empress Marie-Louise, bound with her monogram.
A notable provenance. Marie-Louise de Habsburg-Lorraine (1791-1847) was Duchess of Parma after Napoleon’s abdication in 1815. She built up an extensive library, principally of French works. Her books were mostly bound in red half morocco with her crowned monogram on the covers. Literature, the history of ideas, economics, and politics, her collection shows a rare eclecticism and openness.