[DURAS, Claire de Durfort, duchesse de]. ~ Édouard. Paris: Jules Didot, 1825.
2 vols, 12mo (168 × 85 mm), pp , 238; , 224, complete with half-titles. Some foxing throughout, a few gatherings slightly browned. Contemporary quarter calf, panelled spines decorated in gilt and blind, black morocco labels,mottled sides. Slightly rubbed. A very good copy.
First edition, rare, printed in small numbers (perhaps 100 copies) for private circulation, with the first trade edition following in the same year (printed by Advocat). It followed the succès de scandale of Claire Duras’ previous novel Ourika (1823, now prized as the first European novel with a heroine of African origin). ‘Despite not receiving as much scholarly attention as Ourika or finding fame as part of a literary scandal like Olivier ou le Secret, Édouard has been considered Duras’s finest work (Sainte-Beuve, 71). Written in 1821 and first published in 1825, Édouard uses the lens of class to address similar themes of social exclusion and identity conflict to Duras’s two other finished novellas. Set in the 1770s, the plot focuses on the son of a celebrated lawyer from Lyon, and is generally read as an attack on class boundaries...’ French Writing and Culture: The Nineteenth-Century, 1800-1900 (Literary Encyclopaedia).
It was quickly translated into both German and English. WorldCat lists US copies of the first edition at Cornell, Harvard and Yale only.