NORVINS, Jacques Marquet, Baron de (1769-1854) - RAFFET, Denis-Auguste-Marie. Histoire de Napoleon. Paris: Furne et Cie., 1839 [-1840].

$ 4,500.00

Large 8vo., (10 2/8 x 6 2/8 inches). Half-title (first gathering a little loose). Frontispiece portrait of the infant Napoleon and 80 wood-engraved plates and vignettes throughout by Raffet. Contemporary blue calf backed marbled paper boards (extremities a little rubbed).

Provenance: with the leather book label of Aime Laurent on the recto of the front free endpaper; from the library of Jacques Levy, his sale, Sotheby's, 20th April 2012, lot 42. ONE OF ONLY 4 KNOWN COPIES PRINTED ON PAPER DE CHINE (Carteret 439-444).

The last edition of this remarkable biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, first published in 1827, by Norvins who began his career as a humble magistrate: "After studying law, he became a magistrate and councillor-auditeur at the Châtelet de Paris. In 1792 he emigrated, serving in the German regiment of the Comte Erlch in Coblenz. He then retired to Switzerland for five years where he became friendly with Mme de Staël. He returned to France during the Directoire, only to be arrested after the coup d'état of 18 Fructidor, An V (4 September, 1797), and incarcerated in the La Force prison. He was to be released as a result of a request made by Mme de Staël to Napoleon Bonaparte after the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire (1799). From then on, he was to profess complete devotion to Napoleon" (Marc Allégret 'Revue du Souvenir Napoléonien', pages 67-68).

"Napoleon has been the study of my life since 18 Brumaire. From that period I decided to write a faithful account of that man, unprecedented and unparalleled in history. During the Consulate and Empire, I set about collecting and putting in order a huge amount of material... The examination of the life of Napoleon, I said to myself, reveals three main traits: an excess of genius, an excess of luck and an excess of misfortune" (Preface). Catalogued by Kate Hunter