"THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DEPICTION OF NATURE THAT DORÉ EVER ACHIEVED": CHATEAUBRIAND'S ATALA, WITH 44 ILLUSTRATIONS BY DORÉ, BEAUTIFULLY BOUND
CHATEAUBRIAND. Atala. London and New York: Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, . Folio (measures 12 by 15 inches), contemporary full red morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and covers, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt.
First edition in English of Chateaubriand's novella set among the Native Americans of Louisiana to appear with all 44 of Doré's illustrations—30 full-page folio plates, 14 in-text vignettes—beautifully bound in full contemporary morocco-gilt by MacArthur of Belfast.
Chateaubriand was born into nobility in 1768, but the privileges of being a noble in France evaporated when the French Revolution broke out, and in 1791 he fled to America. "Atala tells the story of a Euro-American girl who has taken a vow to remain celibate but who falls in love with a Natchez man. Torn between love and religion, she poisons herself to keep from breaking her vow. The lush Louisiana setting and the playing-out of romantic passion in primitive American surroundings are captured in a rich, harmonious prose style that yields many beautiful descriptive passages" (Encyclopedia Britannica). Doré's illustrations are "the most beautiful depiction of nature that Doré ever achieved—the lush tropical vegetation of the virgin forest… It contains the best white-on-black effects I have ever seen. These illustrations truly are [black-and-white] paintings. Prior to this no one thought such things could be done with wood engravings" (Malan, 65). "Looking at Doré's total accomplishment, one can hardly deny that he is not merely one of the most popular but also one of the greatest of all illustrators… Every imagination appeared languid in comparison with his" (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, 329). First published with Doré's 44 illustrations in French in Paris in 1863. In 1864, Leypoldt of Philadelphia issued an "Atala Album" but with 12 illustrations only. This Cassell, Petter, & Galpin edition is the first English language edition to appear with all 44 illustrations. Malan, 261.
About-fine condition, beautifully bound.