Le Monophile, avecq’ quelques autres euvres d’amour…
Paris, Robert le Mangnier, 1566.
8vo. ff. [iv] 147 [i]. Roman letter. Woodcut initials, printed side notes. Faint marginal dampstain to title and a few other leaves, occasional light age-yellowing, lower margins a little short, a clean and attractive copy in 17th-century French calf, contemporary gilt stamps of a Marquis’ arms on covers, spine gilt, speckled edges. Small neat repairs to lower corners and head and foot of spine, joints cracked, early inscription ‘A Monsr. de remiers’ on title. Bookplate of Paul Eluard by Max Ernst on pastedown.
An early and rare edition of Pasquier’s romantic work, probably shared with Vincent Norment and Jeanne Bruneau, from the library of the great Surrealist poet Paul Eluard, with his bookplate by Max Ernst. Pasquier, who lived well into his eighties, was a “viellard aimable et enjoué” and had fond memories of youth, particularly the pain engendered by love, which he indulged in producing a compilation of juvenilia under the title of La jeunesse de Pasquier. Pasquier’s literary pursuits predated his career as an ‘avocat’: “Lorsque j’arrivai au palais, ne trouvant qui me mist en besogne et n’estant né pour être oiseux, je me mis à faire des livres, mais livres conformes à mon age et l’honneste liberté que je portois sure le front”. This work is a collection of fables, songs, love letters, stories and dialogues written in honour of the real or ideal woman Pasquier was in love with, to whom it is dedicated. There is a second verse dedication to ladies in general. It was influenced by the Italian works on the philosophy of love fashionable at the time. Most of all, however, it is a discussion of the various aspects of relations between the sexes, largely in dialogue form between a girl and three young men, treating all aspects of love and lovers, and their different visions of them.
This copy is especially interesting for having belonged to the poet Eluard. Born Eugene Grindel, Eluard was one of the founding members and key figures in the Surrealist movement, and a prominent Resistance figure during the Occupation. One of the foremost French poets of the 20th century, his creative vocabulary was shaped by an absolute belief in love, but his poetry also has a dark edge. Eluard and Pasquier share a sense of the exaltation of the ‘puissance d’amour’, both poets celebrating emotional experience above ‘voluptuousness’ . Eluard’s work also finds its roots in a female muse, principally his two wives, Gala (who later married Dali) and Nusch (some of his most moving poems were written after the death of his wife, and are collected in Le temps déborde). Despite the gap of nearly four hundred years separating the two men, they are clearly close in their poetic vision of the supremacy of love, if not in their literary style. Eluard enjoyed a longstanding and close friendship with Ernst, an extraordinarily subtle painter, whose preoccupation with ‘primitive’ art, and psychology, led to his heavy use of the bird as a symbol. On Eluard’s bookplate, Ernst has interwoven his birds in a subtle array, to be viewed from a number of angles, the figure of the owl requiring the viewer to spare a ‘second look’.
Thickett 27; BM STC French, p. 340; Tchemerzine V, p. 78; Lemmonyer III, 267; cf. Brunet IV, p. 406 (Brunet notes that the first edition of this work is “fort rare”); not in Adams; or Graesse; one copy in the BN; Only two other copies are recorded, in the B.L. and the University of Chicago.