‘STELLI, L.’ [pseudonym of Hippolyte MAGEN.] ~ Les nuits et le mariage de César… Jersey: Falle, 1853.
12mo (140 × 80 mm), pp. 96, partially uncut in original printed blue wrappers, preserved in slightly later three-quarter blue cloth. Slightly browned throughout, some minor fraying from careless opening, but a good copy.
First edition of a vicious little satire against Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, Napoleon III, on the occasion of his marriage to Eugénie de Montijo, Countess of Teba, a Spanish noblewoman of partial Scottish ancestry. After years in exile (partly in England) Louis-Napoléon became Emperor with the dissolution of the Second Republic in late 1852. Seeking a wife in order to secure his succession, he married the following year. His opponents (Magen included) took the opportunity to mock his choice and to question his former conduct as a bachelor, accusing him of owning brothels in New York and abusing young girls. The Jersey imprint and the anti-imperial stance have occasionally given rise to the attribution of the pamphlet to Victor Hugo, then exiled in the Channel Isles. The actual author, Magen, author and pamphleteer, was one of thousands of political prisoners transported to Cayenne by the Emperor, a fact noted by Hugo in his letters.