Paris: Gallimard, 1971-72. 1st Edition. 3 vols., octavo, publisher's alabaster cloth, spines stamped in navy and black, original stiff paper dust jackets, attached gray silk bookmarks.
"No study of Flaubert written today can avoid coming to terms with Jean-Paul Sartre's massive L'Idiot de la famille" (Dominick LaCapra, "Madame Bovary" On Trial). First edition of the existentialist philosopher and novelist's monumental psychobiography of a young Gustave Flaubert. Written during the last ten years of his life, when his health and eyesight were in rapid decline, Sartre’s self-punishing swan song was an attempt to develop a dialectical "diagnosis" of the great French realist’s private neuroses. Blending psychoanalysis, philosophy, and literary theory, the highly speculative study illuminates Sartre’s own intrapsychic complexity and conflicts as much as it does Flaubert’s early work. His last major project, the 3000-word treatise was left unfinished, as Sartre was forced to abandon his next installment, on Madame Bovary, after fully losing his sight in 1973. Text in French. From the library of Pulitzer prize-winning poet and translator Richard Howard, who is credited with introducing modern French fiction—particularly examples of the Nouveau Roman—to the American public. Gift inscription to Howard in an unknown hand to front endpaper of vol. I.: “A toi Richard- / ‘Timeo danaos et dona / ferentes.’ Cadeau empoisonné / je cherche un médiateur / Jean Dieue [?]” (To Richard- "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" Poisoned chalice! I'm looking for a go-between). Vol I with corners bumped. Unclipped dust jackets with light soiling and general edgewear, some minor creasing to laminate. Very good or better overall. An impeccable, if somewhat mysterious, association copy. Item #3996