“Hunger whets everything, especially Suspicion and Indignation": First Edition of Thomas Carlyle's French Revolution; With the rare manuscript
The French Revolution: A History.
Item Number: 96895
London: John Fraser, 1837.
First edition of Carlyle’s historical and literary masterpiece, one of only 1,000 copies. Octavo, three volumes, bound in three quarters morocco by Riviere, gilt titles and gilt ruled compartments to the spine, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. With an autograph letter signed and a signed excerpt from the original manuscript tipped in to volume one. The excerpt contained in the manuscript can be found on pages 341-342 of volume II and reads, in part, “A Madame de Stael is busy; cannot clutch her Narbonne from the Time-flood: A Princess de Lamballe is busy: cannot help her Queen…But Social Explosions have in them something dread, and as it were mad and magical…” Dated 1855, the autograph letter signed reads in part, “My Dear Sir, In the Proofsheet put into the Post Office yesterday, you will find a corrections of “Biographic” into “Biographied Personage” with which I am now quite afraid the “i” has been left out…Yours always truly, T. Carlyle.” From the library of Virginia bibliophile Christopher Clark Geest with his bookplate to the pastedown of each volume. In near fine condition. Rare and desirable.
"Of the three great political upheavals which have altered the face of the world The American , French, and Russian Revolutions; only the French Revolution has stimulated literary masterpieces which ... have made their impact ... upon millions of readers .... The result is ... teeming with colorful scenes of dramatic events and imaginative portraits of the leading revolutionaries. The book at once captured the English-speaking world, and has, outside France, molded popular conception of the French Revolution down to the present day. Carlyle wrote his French Revolution as a secular tract for the times and as a warning for his compatriots of the frightful consequences of materialism, utilitarianism and democracy The result is not a work of scholarship but a prose epic, teeming with colorful scenes of dramatic events and imaginative portraits of the leading revolutionaries. The book at once captured the English-speaking world, and has, outside France, molded popular conception of the French Revolution down to the present day" (PMM 304). Carlyle himself triumphantly declared upon the completion of this work, "You have not had for a hundred years any book that comes more direct and flamingly from the heart of a living man" (DNB).