HANDSOME FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF DUCHESS D'ABRANTE'S MEMOIRS OF NAPOLEON, FINELY BOUND
(NAPOLEON) D'ABRANTES, Duchess (JUNOT, Madame Laure). Memoirs of Napoleon, His Court and Family. London: Richard Bentley, 1836. Two volumes. Octavo, early 20th-century three-quarter red morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine with Napoleonic motifs, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt. $1750.
First edition in English of this sarcastic and slanderous portrayal of Napoleon, with 16 full-page engraved portraits, most by William Read, handsomely bound by Root & Son.
Madame Laure Junot, wife of French general and diplomat Jean-Andoche Junot, was a firsthand witness to many of the intrigues of the consulate. She immediately entered into the gay life of Paris, and became "noted for her beauty, her caustic wit, and her extravagance. Napoleon nicknamed her petite peste, but treated her and Junot with the utmost generosity, a fact which did not restrain her sarcasms and slanders in her portrayal of him in her Memoirs" (Robert Ouvrard). The Memoirs of Napoleon, originally published in Paris in 1831-35, were among the most popular of the period. Later, during the Restoration, she published her own "spirited but somewhat spiteful" Memoirs, with the encouragement and supervision of Balzac, her lover since 1828. Bookplate.
Occasional faint foxing; expert restoration to attractive bindings. A very good, handsome copy.