"ONE OF THE OUTSTANDING WRITERS OF THE CENTURY": LIMITED FIRST EDITION OF MONTHERLANT'S LA REINE MORTE, 1944, ONE OF ONLY 50 COPIES (OF 599) WITH 20 COLOR PLATES (TEN DOUBLE-SUITE)
MONTHERLANT, Henry de. La Reine Morte [The Dead Queen]. Drama en Trois Actes. Illustrations de V. Stuyvaert. Paris: (Aux dépens d’un groupe de Bibliophiles, 1944). Tall quarto (10 by 12-1/2 inches), contemporary full crushed black morocco with decorative inlays to front board, gilt raised spine emblem, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut, original wrappers bound in, original slipcase. $1800.
Limited first French edition, number 46 of 599 copies, of Montherlant's first play, one of only 50 copies printed on Lana with an additional double-suite of color plates (20 total), from original watercolors au pochoir by renowned artist Victor Stuyvaert, each text and plate leaf richly bordered in gilt filigree, handsomely bound in full morocco with pictorial inlays on the front board. A gorgeous production.
The notorious award-winning French novelist and dramatist Henry de Montherlant was "one of France's finest playwrights. Admired by such as Malraux, Camus, Graham Greene and Peter Quennell… Montherlant will live as one of the outstanding writers of the century." La reine morte (The Dead Queen), Montherlant's electrifying first drama, premiered in Paris in 1942 at the Comédie Francaise. This limited first edition of La reine morte, published in 1944 amidst the rubble of Nazi occupation, contains striking full-page color illustrations after watercolors au pochoir by Belgian artist Victor Stuyvaert. Montherlant's play, set in Portugal, draws "on the grisly legend that after the death of Inez de Castro, 'her husband, when he became King, had her body disinterred and crowned Queen beside him… The legend is all Montherlant needs. It sets him off on a bitter, ruthless inquiry into the nature of power" (New York Times). Limited first edition of 599 copies with ten full-page color plates: one of only 50 copies printed on Lana and containing an additional double-suite of the volume's ten color plates (20 total). Text in French.
A fine and bright copy, scarce in original slipcase.