FRANCE Anatole (1844-1924) [AF 1896, 38e f].

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FRANCE Anatole (1844-1924) [AF 1896, 38e f].
MANUSCRIT partly autograph, signed, Preface. Une Nuit de Cléopâtre; title and 19 small leaves in-4. Preface for an illustrated edition of the famous story by Théophile GAUTIER (A. Ferroud, 1894). The manuscript consists of 6 entirely autograph leaves in violet ink (pages 13 to 18) and 13 leaves in another hand, most of them with autograph corrections made by France in violet ink. France gives a learned analysis of what is known or believed to be known about Cleopatra: her beauty, her physique, her voice, her science, her lovers and her influence on Antony... He quotes Plutarch, Flavius Josephus and Heine, gives iconographic indications, and argues that if Gautier, "with a marvelous art, has shown her to be Egyptian and barbarian", she was rather Greek by birth and genius, and queen. Then he portrays Antony, a great warrior, a great lover, a great lover of pomp: "He loved the East, its treasures, its monsters, its voluptuousness, its splendors, its perfumes, its poetry. [...] It was he who imagined the follies of the Inimitable Life, the night disguises, the fishing parties on the Nile, the prodigious parties"... Then came the war, the sudden flight of Cleopatra, Antony's retreat to Alexandria where he saw the queen again and formed a more melancholy society with her... Provenance : former Philippe ZOUMMEROFF collection (28-29 April 1999, n° 447).
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