Paris: A. Quantin, 1885. 1st Edition. 8 vols., large octavos, contemporary full red morocco, raised bands, spines and board edges gilt, gilt-tooled dentelles, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, attached silk bookmarks, original wraps bound in.
Finely bound set of the first collected edition of Flaubert's works, published five years after the novelist's death in 1880. Raised on the Romantic literature of the previous generation (Hugo, de Vigny), Flaubert struggled mightily with style, and tended to alternate in his output between an ironic-analytic realism (Madame Bovary, L'Éducation Sentimentale, Bouvard et Pécuchet), and phantasmagorical works of historical romance (Salammbô, La Tentation de Saint Antoine). The present set includes all of the novels, as well as the Trois Contes, Flaubert's two plays, miscellaneous previously unpublished writings, and the documents pertaining to the legal proceedings against Flaubert for obscenity on the publication of Madame Bovary. Also included (in vol. VII) is Guy de Maupassant's memoir of his friend and mentor: "Cette misanthropie attristée dont on a tant parlé n'était pas innée chez lui, mais venue peu à peu de la constatation permanente de la bêtise, car son âme était naturellement joyeuse et son coeur plein d'élans généreux." Text in French. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Flaubert in vol. I. Bound by French craft binder Émile Roussells, with his stamp to upper dentelles. Joints to several volumes somewhat tender, else fine. A beautiful set of the works of the leading French literary realist of the 19th-century. Item #482