Pailleron, Édouard, French poet and playwright (1834-1899). 11 autograph letters signed.

Paris, Ronjoux (La Motte-Servolex), and n. p., 1872-1898.

8vo and 12mo. Altogether 18 pp. on 28 ff. With a lithographed portrait after Paul Mathey (8vo) and two contemporary photographs.


A collection of letters spanning more than two decades. Most letters are private and often practical in nature but some give insights into Pailleron's work, his social circles and his private life. The earliest dated letter, from 17 April 1872, is a dinner invitation to the journalist and later director of the Comédie Française, Jules Claretie (1840-1913). Other guests mentioned by Pailleron include the writer Amédée Achard, the illustrator Cham (Amédée de Noé), and the playwright Eugène Labiche: "Mardi prochain, on mange la Bouillabaisse à la maison. Achard, Cham, Labiche etc sont de la fête. Voulez-vous en être aussi - Répondez moi [...] et ne m'envoyez pas un non télégrammique à la dernière heure [...]".

Another friend of Pailleron's was the popular academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905), who received tickets for the premiere of Pailleron's last play, "Mieux vaut douceur et Violence" at the Comédie Française on 20 January 1897: "Vous pouvez envoyer prendre 2 places, à la Maison, p[ou]r la premiere de Vendredi, à partir de Jeudi Matin [...]" (Paris, 26 Jan. 1897).

An undated letter to Louis Ulbach shows Pailleron's loyalty to the "Revue des Deux Mondes" that he co-directed. For fear of competition, Pailleron turns down Ulbach's offer to contribute to an unspecified anthology: "Il m'est moralement interdit, vous le comprendrez facilement, d'écrire n'importe quoi dans n'importe quels Recueils qui, de près ou de loin, pourraient faire concurrence à la Revue des deux Mondes, ayant mille raisons et même davantage - de la préfèrer à tous les autres. Excuses moi donc de ne pas pouvoir, malgre tout mon désir, répondre à votre gracieux appel [...]" (identification of the recipient according to a collector's note).

Two particularly substantial letters to an unidentified close friend are written from Pailleron's Château de Ronjoux, where Georges Sand had written most of "Mademoiselle La Quintinie" in 1863. In the earlier letter from 27 July 1895, Pailleron poetically praises the fine weather, proclaiming that they lived in "a veritable Eden" with blue skies, bright sunshine and fresh air: "jamais je n'ai vu le beau pays plus beau [...]". In a letter from 5 October 1898, only months before Pailleron's premature death, he mentions the birth of children in his circle, also referring to the good health of his grandson Robert Bourget-Pailleron, born in 1897. In closing, Pailleron laments the rapid changes to Paris, predicting that within 20 years the city will be "no more than a small New York" minus the "landscape and the commerce". The project that he specifically refers to concerned one of the famous Parisian quays, possibly the Quai Saint-Bernard, stretching from the Pont d'Austerlitz to the Pont de Sully. Pailleron compares the forces set in motion by "speculators and engineers", leaving the old city "transformed, vulgarized, revamped, unrecognizable", to the former Parisian carnival parade "descente de la Courtille".

4 letters with embossed letterhead of Pailleron's monogram and Paris address, 2 of which allude to the Order of the Garter. Generally well preserved with minor browning and some stains; one letter with a minor tear. All items show traces of former mounting and occasional collector's notes in pencil.

Art.-Nr.: BN#54241 Schlagwort: