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Chefs D'Oeuvre De P. Corneille, Four Volumes

By Pierre Corneille

1804 - Paris - D'Herhan

6.5" x 4"; lxi, 262, 290, 300, 270

 
 


 

DETAILS

Corneille's selected greatest works, in four volumes.

 

Corneille is thought of as one of the trio of great 17th century French playwrights, alongside Moilere and Racine. Early in his career he was patronised by Cardinal Richelieu, but broke with him after failing to follow the Cardinals vision for a new kind of drama which emphasised virtue.

 

After parting ways with Richelieu he wrote Le Cid, which is widely considered his finest play. It is included here in volume I. It was based on the legend of Rodgrigo Diaz de Vivar, a military figure in medieval Spain.  However, the newly formed Academie Francaise condemned it on the grounds that it did not conform to the classical unities of time, place, and action. It was also attacked on moral grounds.

 

After taking this criticism to heart, he next wrote three classical tragedies. He also revised Le Cid to make it conform better to the academys rules. Thereafter followed the publication of numerous further tragedies, until a poor review once again stalled his career.

 

His later works did not have the same success as his earlier ones. However, his legacy in French culture should not be underestimated. In his grand review, Voltaire argued that Corneille had done for French what Homer had done for Greek: shown that it was an appropriate medium for great art.

 

Fascinatingly, these volumes are also dated 'XIII' - conforming to the French Revolutionary Calendar. This had been abandoned by Napoleon the previous year, which raises interesting questions about the sympathies of the publisher.

 

Collated from Copac: Complete 

CONDITION

In tree calf with gilt detailing to the spines. Externally sound, with some rubbing to the extremities of the boards and to the spines. Also with some light general shelf wear. Internally, with light foxing here and there throughout, with a tendency for it to be a little more pronounced on the first and last few pages as usual. Volume three has a stain on the last few pages. Firmly bound. Overall: VERY GOOD


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