Estelle, by FLORIAN, Louis-Pierre Claris de (1755-1794).

Estelle, by FLORIAN, Louis-Pierre Claris de (1755-1794).
  • Another image of Estelle, by FLORIAN, Louis-Pierre Claris de (1755-1794).
  • Another image of Estelle, by FLORIAN, Louis-Pierre Claris de (1755-1794).
FLORIAN, Louis-Pierre Claris de (1755-1794).

Estelle, Roman Pastoral. Par M. de Florian, Capitaine de Dragons, et Gentilhomme de S.A.S. Monseigneur le Duc de Penthièvre, des Académies de Madrid, de Florence, de Lyon, de Nismes, d'Angers, &c... Paris, l’Imprimerie de Monsieur, Debure, 1788.

Third Edition; Same Year and Imprint as First Edition. 8vo, (119 x 115mm), pp. [ii], 235, [1], library stamp on the title page but otherwise an excellent copy, sumputously bound in contemporary or slightly later red morocco, floral border within rules to both covers, flat spine simply gilt in compartments with black morocco label lettered in gilt, silk endpapers, gilt dentelles, binding probably contemporary with the presentation inscription on the front free endpaper 'à Père Charvin ainé, de Lyon... 1815'.

A charming copy of one of the most important pastoral novels in French literature, including Florian's introductory essay on the pastoral form. Inspired by Daphnis and Chloe and set at the end of the fifteenth century, the novel tells of the love of the shepherd Némorin for the beautiful Estelle. She returns his love but out of duty and gratitude is obliged to marry another shepherd, Méril, after he rescues her father. Némorin despairs but is saved by Méril's heroic sacrifice of his own life in battle, a sacrifice made so that the lovers might be united. Estelle is thought to be a rather magnificent heroine, of whom the elderly Buffon remarked: 'la douce, l'aimable, l'intéressante Estelle a suspendu mes maux'.
'Dans les pastorales comme dans les arlequinades de Florian, toujours le ciel est bleu, l'amour loyal, les femmes chastes; la vertu, qui est spontanée et facile, est infailliblement récompensée. Mais l'auteur n'est pas dupe. Mainteneur fidèle de la tradition arcadienne et utopique immanente à tout le classicisme, il propose au lecteur un pèlerinage aux siècles d'or, un retour anticipé au paradis perdu. Et il est permis de rester sensible encore à la fluidité mélodique de sa prose et de ses vers' (DLF 487).
Set in the Cévennes, the author's birthplace, this work is also celebrated for its description of the local topography, the mountains, landscapes and flora of the region. 'Je veux célébrer ma patrie', he wrote of Estelle, 'ces beaux climats ou la verte olive, la mure vermeille, la grappe dorée croissent ensemble sous un ciel toujours d'azur'. To augment the local feeling of the work, Florian gives the Provencal translation for a number of the shepherdess' rhymes in the footnotes. The importance of Florian's works to the local community was witnessed in the early twentieth century by the Felibrige revival movement in Provence, which paid an annual tribute to him.
An enormously popular novel, several editions were published within the first year, at least five bearing the present imprint ('de l'imprimerie de Monsieur', ie the brother of Louis XVI who reigned from 1815 as Louis XVIII). Cioranescu gives the present edition as the first, but MMF demote it to third place.

Cioranescu 28777; MMF 88.53.

Keywords: Continental Books
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