Letters from great French writers of the 19th century – Victor Hugo, Honore de Balzac, Stendhal, Gustave Flaubert, Georges Sand, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine – will be offered at auction in Paris, AFP reported.
They are part of the collection of the former university professor and lover of literature Jean-Luc Mercier and are offered for sale by the auction house “Cornette de Saint-Cyr”. The auction will be held on June 9.
Participants will be able to bid for a letter from Victor Hugo, written by Brussels in 1866 to journalist and admirer Auguste Vacquerie. The letter, a call against the death penalty, in which the author of “The Doomed” complains that “freedom is denied everywhere, the ideal is violated and reactionaryism thrives” is valued at between 8,000 and 10,000 euros.
Four letters from Gustave Flaubert to his ex-girlfriend, written between 1846 and 1853, were valued at up to 15,000 euros each. In one, Flaubert said of the writing of Madame Bovary: “No lyricism. No reasoning. The author’s personality is absent. It will be sad to read.”
In a letter from 1868 addressed to Flaubert, Georges Sand complained that he lived in isolation. “You, angry troubadour, I suspect you enjoy the craft more than anything in the world,” Sand said.
The twentieth century and especially surrealism are well represented in the collection. A collage by Andre Breton entitled “Ghost Team” is valued at between 10,000 and 15,000 euros, as well as a book in English about Salvador Dali with a dedication drawn by the Spanish artist.
The most expensive lot, valued at between 40,000 and 50,000 euros, is an original edition of Julien Grach’s novel The Shores of Sirte, accompanied by a letter from the author to Jean-Luc Mercier explaining his literary project.
Participants will also be able to bid for an original edition of Emmanuel Arsan’s novel Emanuela, with a nude photo of the author by Pierre Molinier, valued at between 7,000 and 8,000 euros.
A total of 345 lots will be offered at the auction.