Charles et Marie. Par l’auteur d’Adèle de Senange.

Paris, Maradan, 1802.

12mo, pp. 155; some occasional light browning, but a very good copy in French contemporary quarter morocco, spine decorated gilt, rebacked preserving the original spine.

£400

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US $506€444

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Charles et Marie. Par l’auteur d’Adèle de Senange.

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First edition of this novel describing British society at the beginning of the 19th century, written in the form of an aristocratic young Englishman’s diary.

Adelaïde Filleul, Marquise de Souza-Botelho (1761-1836) was one of the most celebrated women writers of her day, gathering around her a salon in the Louvre in which the principal figure was Talleyrand, with whom she had a liaison. In 1785 she gave birth to a son who was generally known to be Talleyrand’s son. In 1792 Souza was forced to flee the French Revolution, joining the émigré community at Mickleham, Surrey. She spent the next two years in England, and spoke the language fluently. Her first husband, the count de Flahaut, remained at Boulogne and was arrested and guillotined in 1793. From this time she supported herself by writing novels, of which the first, Adèle de Senange (London, 1794), which is partly autobiographical, was the most famous. Her third book, Charles et Marie, was published the same year as her second marriage, to the Portuguese diplomat Monsieur de Souza.

Madame de Souza’s novels were evidently still popular later in the century, when Tolstoy refers to them in War and Peace (1868-9):

‘[Pierre’s] servant handed him a half-cut novel, in the form of letters, by Madame de Souza. He began reading about the sufferings and virtuous struggles of a certain Emilie de Mansfeld. “And why did she resist her seducer when she loved him?” he thought’ (Book 5, chapter 1).

‘“You know, Count, such knights as you are only found in Madame de Souza's novels”’ (Book 10, chapter 17).

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