LORRAIN, Jean. ~ Ellen. Paris: Pierre Douville, 1906.
8vo (184 × 110 mm), pp. , 313, . Original pictorial wrappers by Van Wélie, preserved in later quarter cloth. Author’s inscription: ‘A Guido de Soria cette Ellen que j’aurais aimé lui dédier. Son ami Jean Lorrain. [?]Janvier 1906 Nice.’
First edition, presentation copy inscribed by Lorrain to author Guido [Diaz] de Soria. Ellen, one of Lorrain’s last substantial works tells the story of the final tragic months of a young English aristocrat, Ellen Horneby, sent to the Riviera with her mother to recuperate from a mysterious illness. A love triangle ensues, in which Ellen is cruelly misunderstood. She presents the manuscript of an allegorical tale she has written to one of her suitors (her cousin) who fails to understand it and dismisses her with a kiss on the forehead. Devastated, Ellen throws herself to her death from her balcony. It is one of Lorrain’s least outlandish and most stylish creations, surely worthy of revival.
Appended to the edition are three further short stories: Trains de Luxe, Monte-Carlo, Choses de Là-Bas et La Conquête de Paris