Boston: Hardy, Pratt and Co., 1899. Limited Edition. Octavo. Item #022602
Limited to only 40 sets. The present set is #2. A few volumes unopened. In 40 volumes illustrated with photogravures hand-colored by Jeannniot, Adrien Moreau and several others who were specially chosen by the firm Goupil & Co. The set has a total of 283 hand-colored plates, (7 per volume except volume 40 which has 10.) with tissue guards present. Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley who most likely knows more about Balzac and his works than anyone in this country. He was her life's study. In the preface, which was written by Balzac in 1856, was placed in volume I to give Balzac's own interpretation of his books. Balzac was an early pioneer of literary realism. He used incidents from his life and the people around him, in works like Eugénie Grandet and Louis Lambert. His writings influenced several other writers including Henry James who wrote about him as did William Saroyan, Marcel Proust adored him. He had been compared with Charles Dickens. An exceptionally fine set bound in 3/4 green morocco over marbled paper covered boards with matching endpapers, raised bands lettered and decorated in gilt, top edges gilt, all others uncut. No names or bookplates, spines are evenly faded but still quite beautiful. A monumental work.