The Princess of Cleves. Translated by Nancy Mitford
New York: New Directions, 1951. 1st US Edition. Small octavo, publisher’s buckram cloth, spine stamped in purple, original illustrated dust jacket.
"There are those to whom we dare give no sign of the love that we feel for them, except in things that do not touch them directly; and, though one dares not show them that they are loved, one would at least like them to see that one does not wish to be loved by anyone else." First US edition of Nancy Mitford's translation of the French classic, widely considered France’s first historical and psychological novel. Originally published anonymously in France in 1678, the story is set during the 16th-century reign of Henry II and centers on the title character, a virtuous and sheltered heiress who is repressing her desire for the Duke de Nemours. An immense commercial success upon publication, the novel naturally also sparked controversy about its authorship. It is assumed to have been written by Madame de Lafayette, born Marie-Madeleine Pioche de la Vergne, although while alive she refuted rumors she was the author. Translated, and with an introduction by, English novelist, biographer, and journalist Nancy Mitford (Love In a Cold Climate, The Pursuit of Love); with notes and bibliography. This translation first published in the UK in 1950. Dust jacket designed by Alvin Lustig, who took a revolutionary approach to book cover design in the 1940s. Rather than attempting to illustrate a book in one image, Lustig tried to gain a sense of the author’s "creative drive," and interpret it in his own style. He designed more than 70 dust jackets for the New Directions' "New Classics" series from 1945 until his death in 1955. Issued as NC31 in the publisher's New Classics series. Previous ownership signature to front free endpaper. Price clipped dust jacket with moderate fading to spine, old tape repair to verso, some rubbing and shelfwear. Very good. Item #6996