Small 8vo (115 x 185 mm). XX, 240 pp. Original printed wrappers bound within contemporary red French half morocco over marbled sides. Marbled endpapers. Top edge gilt.
First edition of the author's most famous work: "L'Internationale", written following the defeat of the Paris Commune in 1871: "Debout! les damnés de la terre! / Debout! les forçats de la faim! [...] / C'est la lutte finale: / Groupons-nous, et demain, / L’Internationale / Sera le genre humain!" The poem became the anthem of the International Workingmen's Association during its last years and has been used by most socialist and leftist political internationals since. In 1913, Lenin would acknowledge the 25th anniversary of Pottier's death in an article in "Pravda".
The present copy, last in the library of French president François Mitterrand, previously the leader of France's Parti socialiste, is inscribed by the author before the half-title: "Au citoyen Savinien Lecoq, ami intime du grand et regretté poète Pierre Dupont. Son collègue fraternel, Eugène Pottier, mai 1887". The Lyon-born songwriter Dupont (1821-70), whom Pottier here invokes as Lecoq's "intimate friend", was a well-known writer and performer of workers' songs, his "Chant des Ouvriers" proving his perhaps most popular creation. He counted Baudelaire among the circle of his friends and was banished in 1851 after the coup of Napoleon III.
A good, fairly wide-margined copy, very lightly browned. The binding's morocco grain shows the white sheen characteristic of the leather mousse used by the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Robert Brécy, "À propos de L'Internationale d'Eugène Pottier et de Pierre Degeyter", in Revue d'Histoire moderne et contemporaine, année 1974. Zévaès, Eugène Pottier et L'Internationale (Paris, 1936).