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International Literature – Rare

Duras, Ourika.

Duras, Claire Duchesse de.

Ourika.

Édition Originale. Paris, Chez Ladvocat, 1824. 18 x 11 cm. 172 pages. Relié plein cuir vert / Beautiful contemporary Hardcover. Intérieur bon état malgré légéres rousseurs éparses. Couverture défraichie et tachée. Provenance: Exlibris: A Debidour (Élie Louis Marie Marc Antonin Debidour) / Premiere edition dans le commerce après la rare édition originale publiée entre 25 et 40 exemplaires en décembre 1823 par l’Imprimerie royale pour les amis de l’auteur. Ce court récit fut rapidement écrit en 1820 lors d’une retraite de convalescence. Sollicitée par Chateaubriand, ami de la Duchesse de Duras depuis 1809, qui avait parti- culièrement aprécier le texte, l’auteur se décida à publier l’ouvrage anonymement. L’histoire de cette jeune sénégalaise, éduquée en France se rendant compte à l’âge de 12 ans des préjudices liés à sa couleur de peau, est considérée comme le premier roman de la littérature française à aborder les problèmes de racisme. / First published edition, following a private printing of 25 copies. A very good+ copy in contemporary paper-covered boards. An anonymously published novel by a French woman who was a close friend of Chateaubriand and who established a well-known salon in London. Her work has been compared to that of Richardson and Rousseau for obvious reasons, but she is perhaps more relevantly understood in the context of the early 19th-century French women’s writing that has only rather recently become a subject of study. Based on the true story of a Sengalese servan, unaware of her race until she overhears talk of it among the French family for whom she works, and thus begins her life as a black woman. In large part the tale recounts her hopeless love for a white man and her eventual retreat to a convent. This is the first European novel featuring a black female protagonist, and according to John Fowles who at least in part based his own The French Lieutenant’s Woman on the work, the first attempt by a European to enter the mind of a black character. An attractive copy of this cultural landmark.

EUR 680,-- 

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