BARBEY D'AUREVILLY JULES (1808-1889)

Lot 77
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BARBEY D'AUREVILLY JULES (1808-1889)

L.A.S. "J.B. d'Aur.", Bourg-Argental November 17, 1846 "in the night, - on an inn table between two candles which are bored to burn", to his friend Guillaume-Stanislas TRÉBUTIEN; 6 pages in-8 (tab on one edge, tiny tear at the bottom of the last leaf affecting the signature).
Very beautiful and long letter about his journey and about An Old Mistress.
He is in Bourg-Argental [which later became the setting for A Story without a Name], "a feudal town that has no more than ruins, at the bottom of a black valley, surrounded by high mountains, - the first rings of the imposing Cévennes mountain range. It is there that My Wanderer
Majesty resides for the time being. If I have the imagination, I can believe I am at the end of the world". And he compares his situation to Walter's novel
Scott L'Antiquaire... But he is not there "for some female", but for a business, "to earn interest on money, which is harder to earn - with our greedy, sordid and putrid devils of morals - than political interests. However, I have more or less succeeded. ... the business is vast and requires as much activity as hand skill, perseverance and a keen eye. It must lead us to fortune.
I say we, because we are Thirteen Devourers, as in Balzac, not the letter writer, but the other. [...] You are in all my ambitions, as am I, and friendship has fixed ideas like love".
Barbey recounts his journey, which was "like a Skakspeare drama, all grotesque and terrible. Grotesque, because I travelled, through floods and the interruption of all postal service, as one travelled sixty years ago by coach [...] Terrible, because I have seen terrible disasters. This Loire that you dream about, which used to flow in the sun like a woman smiling under the chandeliers [...], has become a real fury. ...] I have travelled along torn-out roads; I have seen populations of corpses floating and fleeing into the countryside as if the enemy were at our doorstep. ...] The Devastation followed me to St Etienne, a real English or American city by the way, foggy black, coal-burned, but well built, with the most beautiful and aristocratic hotels for travellers. [...] France is not worth travelling for because it offers nothing to interrupt your impressions & memories strongly enough"...
He will probably go to Lyon, then to Geneva: "I would like to date the last page of Vellini [An Old Mistress] from the shores of Lake Geneva.
This poor Vellini! I continued her on all the tables of the inns in the towns and even villages I passed through. The Wandering Book! [...] My second volume is coming along very well. [...] If this fabulous
Hypogriff, success can be ridden, we'll ride it and God damn me! I'll make him and me a real centaur!
Besides, if not, my mourning won't be long. Of all the glories, the bookish glory is not the one that tempts me the most. Whatever Vellini's fate is, it will have served me well enough since I will have written it.
It will have torn me from myself. It is the most beautiful benefit of these books that we get out of our minds. A few days ago I wrote to a woman who has remained my friend: "It's a portrait and it's a dream that Vellini.
Whose portrait? The dream of what? That's what the world will never know, not even you. A doubt maybe, but nothing more ! I felt while writing it what a woman feels while caressing her chimera if her chimera was more than a lie, but a living reality". And yet not everything in this book is a chimera"... He does not think to be before the first week of December "in our very loved and very corrupt Paris"; he gives news of their friend Gaudin
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