“THE WORLD IS FULL OF HIS GLORY, HIS DEEDS AND HIS MONUMENTS”: FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF LAS CASES’ PRIVATE LIFE AND CONVERSATIONS OF NAPOLEON, 1823, BEAUTIFULLY BOUND
(NAPOLEON) LAS CASES, Count De. Memorial De Sainte Hélène. Journal of the Private Life and Conversations of the Emperor Napoleon at Saint Helena. London: Henry Colburn, 1823. Eight volumes. Octavo, late 19th-century three-quarter red morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt. $2700.
First edition in English of Las Cases’ memoir of his time with the exiled Napoleon, illustrated with four engraved plates (folding floor plan of Napoleon’s Longwood residence, view of his birthplace in Corsica, folding map of St. Helena and map of the Italian Campaign), handsomely bound by Samuel Tout.
Fascinated by Napoleon, Las Cases shared his exile at St. Helena, recording the emperor's conversations. The resulting work is "of great interest" for passages presenting Napoleon's candid thoughts on the ruinous war in Spain, his failure to dismember Austria after Wagram, his marriage to an Austrian princess ("I set foot on an abyss, concealed by a bed of flowers") and his role as arbiter in the great struggle between past and present (Britannica 19, 210). The popularity of the Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène upon its publication in 1823 was "one of the earliest" signs "that the Légende napoléonienne was forming" (Harvey & Heseltine, 506). Four volumes bound in eight parts. Illustrated with four engravings: folding plan of Longwood (Part I, facing title page); view of the house where Napoleon was born (Part III, facing title page); folding map of Italian campaign (Part III, before index); folding map of St. Helena (Part VII, facing title page). BMC 14, 888.
Text and plates clean, bindings with bright spine gilt and only minor rubbing with wear to some corners. A lovely set.