A Splendid Bibliophile's Limited Edition in a Remarkable, Perfectly Preserved Maylander Binding


(Paris: Auguste Blaizot, 1924). 310 x 225 mm. (12 1/4 x 8 3/4"). 3 p.l., XI, [1] (blank), 197, [5] pp. No. XXI OF 355 COPIES.

SPLENDID INDIGO CRUSHED MOROCCO BY ÉMILE MAYLANDER (stamp-signed on front doublure), covers with elegant gilt frames featuring flowers and acanthus leaves, raised bands, spines richly gilt in compartments with pomegranate sprig centerpiece, MOSAIC MOROCCO DOUBLURES with inlaid frame of maroon morocco and gilt-latticed cornerpieces of blue morocco on a caramel-colored background, maroon silk endleaves, all edges gilt. Original wrappers bound in. Housed in matching morocco-trimmed chemise lined with leather, in matching slipcase. With three engraved vignettes in the text and 34 plates by Bernard Naudin, two of them double-page. ◆AN IMMACULATE COPY.

Virtually unchanged since the day it left the bindery, this is a beautiful luxury edition of Diderot's vicious satire skewering the hedonism, cynicism, and materialism of opponents of the Enlightenment. The work takes the form of a dialogue between "Moi," the narrator standing in for Diderot, and "Lui," the jaded, sophisticated "Nephew of Rameau" of the title. The operas of French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) are among the topics Moi and Lui debate--the alleged superiority of Italian opera being one of the "culture wars" of the day--along with the worship of money and the possibility of morality without God. Fearing repercussions from political and cultural elites mentioned by name in the work, Diderot never published it. The manuscript was in the library he sold to Catherine the Great of Russia, and a copy found its way, via Schiller, into the hands of Goethe, who translated it into German and published it in 1805. In 1890, French librarian George Monval found a copy of the manuscript in Diderot's own hand, and the original text finally came into print. Our edition uses this text, enlivened by the etchings of Bernard Naudin (1876-1946), whose genius for satirical caricature is well matched to the subject. Born into the trade as the son of a gilder in the Marius Michel workshop, Emile Maylander (1866-1959) was still a child when he began to train with the best doreur of the day, Gustave Bénard. By the age of 10(!) he was working for the atelier of Domont, where he perfected his craft. He later worked for the great Cuzin and for Émile Mercier, in whose workshop he was the premier doreur. After Mercier's death in 1910, he began doing high-end gilding work for other binders, before opening his own studio in 1920. Flety tells us he quickly established a grand reputation among collectors. According to Duncan and De Bartha, Maylander preferred bindings that used classical designs "which he executed with a faultless technique, drawing the admiration of a number of bibliophiles." He chose such a classical design appropriate to the late 18th century for this work, creating a harmony of text, illustration, and binding.

Price: $6,500.00