ZOLA, EMILE. 1840-1902. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Emile Zola"), being the manuscript of the short story "Le Capitaine Burle,"
Lot 27
ZOLA, EMILE. 1840-1902.
Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Emile Zola"), being the manuscript of the short story "Le Capitaine Burle,"
Sold for US$ 43,750 inc. premium

Fine Books and Manuscripts

9 Mar 2017, 13:00 EST

New York

Lot Details
ZOLA, EMILE. 1840-1902. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Emile Zola"), being the manuscript of the short story "Le Capitaine Burle,"
ZOLA, EMILE. 1840-1902.
Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Emile Zola"), being the manuscript of the short story "Le Capitaine Burle," 64 pp, 4to, n.p., [November 1880], in ink with autograph revisions and corrections throughout (the first page only in another hand), on blue paper laid down to larger sheets and bound in red morocco gilt;
bound with Autograph Letter Signed ("Emile Zola"), 2 pp rectos only, bifolium, Medan, 29 September 1885, to the publisher Damase Jouast referencing the Charpentier collection Le Capitaine Burle.
Provenance: "John Quinn (1870-1924), bookplate, his sale Anderson Galleries, March 1924; Dr. Lucien-Graux (1878-1944, bookplate).

VERY RARE MANUSCRIPT FOR ONE OF ZOLA'S BEST KNOWN STORIES. Zola's "Le Capitaine Burle" was first published in the St Petersburg journal The Literary Herald in December 1880 as "Un Duel," from this manuscript, and the last of 64 contributions published as "Lettres de Paris." According to his correspondence, Zola sent his contributions in manuscript form to Russia, and they were then returned to him. After its return it was serialized in Paris in La Vie Moderne as "Le Capitaine Burle" beginning in February of 1881. The titular Captain Burle, once adored as a military hero, now finds himself a widower living with his overbearing mother. The mother is intently raising Burle's own son Edouard, with the hope that he will achieve the military honor that now eludes his father. When Major Laguitte finds that Burle is stealing military funds to support his dissolute lifestyle, he confides in the mother. She incites Laguitte to bring about her own son's death in order to save the family from further dishonor, and to ensure the future career of her grandson. Laguitte provokes a duel in which Captain Burle is killed. However, her plan comes to naught, for while she is reading stories of valor and glory to the grandson in order to steel his ideas of glory and patriotism, the sickly boy dies of fear.
Manuscripts of Zola's shorter works are of great rarity. In the Pleiade edition of his Contes et Nouvelles, the editor believes the only extant manuscript from the volume titled Le Capitaine Burle is that of "Pour une nuit d'amour." Henri Mitterand, in "Le Mystere des Manuscrits Perdus," notes that since the original 1970 publication of his finding-list to Zola's manuscripts nothing has re-appeared, either at auction or in private hands, and speculates that the most important group of manuscripts still "lost" may have been inadvertently destroyed. While they may still exist, it is inarguably true that the present manuscript is one of the most important literary manuscripts of Zola in private hands.
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