De Saint-Pierre, Bernardin, Paul et Virginie Suivi de la Chaumière Indienne Précédé d’un Notice Historique sur Bernardin Saint-Pierre par M. C. A. Sainte-Beuve de l’Académie Française. Paris: Furne, Libraire-Éditeur, 1853. 28 cm; 8vo; [xl; 222; 223-300; 301-330; i] A complete copy, with a colored map of l’Ile de France (Mauritius) and 7 steel-engraved portraits, on China paper bound-in in two states: “Bernardin de Saint-Pierre” by Lafitte; “Marguerite” by Johannot; “Madame de la Tour” by Johannot; “Virginie” by Johannot; “Paul” by Johannot; “Le Docteur” par Meissonier; “La Jeune Bramine” by Johannot. Additional wood-block illustrations within the text, as well as 19 wood-block text decorations. The two titles are followed by an essay on the vegetation found on Mauritius in the late eighteenth century. Vicaire VII, 71 does not mention copies with plates in two states. Stated: “Exemplaire Unique tiré sur papier de cette couleur.” Bound in marbled boards with a cloth spine. A very good, extra-illustrated, untrimmed, unique copy. French language.
One of the most influential novels in the history of French literature, Paul et Virginie was first published on the eve of the French Revolution in 1788. De Saint-Pierre’s novel criticizes the class distinctions and barriers in pre-revolution France, in particular its opposition to inequality between races. Drawing on the work of Rousseau and others, the novel presents an Enlightenment view of God or “Providence.” Among literary references to Paul et Virginie are those of Flaubert in Madame Bovary, Guy De Maupassant in Bel Ami; Balzac in Le Curé du Village, in addition to having been made into two operas as well as a silent film in 1910, Paul and Virginia.