Lot 94

VIGNY, Alfred de (1797-1863). Fragment of the autograph manuscript of the author's diary about Cinq-Mars. Circa 1826-1837.

Interesting excerpt from the Diary of Alfred de Vigny about Cinq-Mars. This fragment of the manuscript begins with a page dated 1826, the date of the publication of Cinq-Mars. Vigny comes back to it on his novel. On November 9, 1826, he indicates, as he has just finished proofreading the last proofs: "what makes this book original is that everything in it looks like a novel and everything in it is history". The 6 other pages, dated around 1837, deal with the genesis of the novel, the author's passion for history, his questioning from childhood which led his father, then the poet's main interlocutor, to compare his son to the "interrogating Bailly" of Voltaire's Ingénu. "From that day on, I never questioned, I read". He began a story of the Fronde at the age of 14 ("it was very bad") but he still has what he calls "a real debt of friendship when he wrote Cinq-Mars and painted the Abbé de Gondi". If he reads Walter Scott's historical novels, he considers them "too easy to do in that the action is placed in invented characters".
"In 1824, in Oloron, (...) I composed entirely and wrote on a sheet of paper the entire plan of Cinq-Mars. There is no book that I have meditated longer and more seriously (...) it was only in 1826 that I began to write the book from one end to the other, and, as they say, with a single ink (...) I had (...) the desire to make a series of historical novels which would be like the epic of the nobility and of which Cinq-Mars was the beginning. I will write one whose time is that of Louis XIV, another which will be that of the Revolution and the Empire, that is to say the end of this race that has been socially dead since 1789".
The Vigny diary was published after his death by Louis Ratisbonne, at Lévy's, in 1867, under the title Journal d'un poète.
Vigny, Journal d'un poète,1867, pp. 34 and pp. 238-241.

7 pp. in-8 (198 x 118 mm), in brown ink on paper, pages numbered "1 - 91-96" in red grease pencil. Unsigned spine binding: brown morocco, rhombus of 3 cold fillets and gold dotted in the center of the covers in a triple cold fillet frame, smooth spine, gold lettering, gilt edges, purple moire guards. Provenance: Lambiotte (sale III, no. 113) Sicklès (sale I, no. 223).

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