“The epitome of Mexican romanticism with drawings by Salazar and typography and lithography of the highest quality from José Mariano Lara”—(Mathes)

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27. BERNARDIN DE SAINT-PIERRE, J[acques]-H[enri]. Pablo y Virginia por J.H. Bernardino de Saint-Pierre. Mexico: Litografía de Salazar; Imprenta de J.M. Lara, calle de la Palma No. IV, 1843. [4], [1] 2-291 [1, blank] pp., 33 full-page uncolored lithograph plates (including title and sectional title; with a few plates mounted) by Salazar (mostly unattributed), numerous lithograph text illustrations, woodcut initials. 8vo (22 x 14 cm), original plain maize paper wrappers bound in later full brown Mexican mottled sheep extra gilt, spine with raised bands and gilt lettered, gilt doublures, edges sprinkled, tan mottled endpapers. Minor rubbing and shelfwear. Light scattered foxing throughout (heavier on some pages and plates), but generally fine condition.

     First Mexican edition (first edition published in France in 1787). Mathes, Mexico on Stone, pp. 21: “The magnificent Pablo y Virginia...was the epitome of Mexican romanticism with drawings by Salazar and typography and lithography of the highest quality from José Mariano Lara”; 56 (title cited in bibliography); 64 (Lara); 65 (Salazar). Mathes (in Museo Nacional de Arte, Nación de imágenes: La Litografía Mexicana del Siglo XIX), p. 25: “Sus mejores trabajos son la ilustración de las novelas Los cientos uno Roberto Macario (1860)y Pablo y Virginia (1843) que, por la combinación armoniosa de tipografía, composición pictórica y hermosas viñetas, constituye uno de los libros más bellos del siglo. Estas litografías fueron realizadas en papel de china, lo cual hace resaltar la textura aterciopelada de dibujo.” Palau 285214: “Bella edición superior a la de París.” Toussaint, La Litografía en México en el Siglo XIX, p. xx.

     This is probably the most beautifully executed work of literature published in Mexico up to that time, in layout, printing, illustration, and lithography. The sheets were put through the press twice, once to print the lithographed text illustrations, and the second time to print the type. This work predates Rivière’s Antonino y Anita ó Los nuevos misterios de México, which Escamilla claims to be the first literary work published in Mexico to be illustrated by lithographic plates. A wildly popular work that was translated into Spanish several times and published frequently but which came late to Mexico in a native edition.

     This publication is a case in which a later translation and edition dwarf the original work in some respects. The translator has produced a rendition of the original that effectively captures its essence and style. In the opening passages, for example, in which the humble Indian hut is depicted, describing the scene the Spanish reads: “A la entrada de esta especie de ensenada, desde done se descubre tanta variedad de objectos, á cual mas admirable, los écos del monte repiten sin cesar el zumbido de los vientos que agitan los bosques inmediatos, y el susurro de las olas que se estrellan á los léjos en los arenales y peñascos” (p. 3). The passage is reinforced by a sizeable text illustration showing the scene. More text reinforcement is provided by the spectacular lithographs, which capture in images all the Romantic agony the novel embodies. Especially in those illustrations is demonstrated the sometimes overwrought and overheated Romantic imagination, here very successfully transferred to Mexico nearly sixty years after the original French publication.

     A classic of Romantic Literature, Paul and Virginia depicts the New World in an unblemished, natural Rousseauian state with noble Natives, although the couple tragically perishes in this paradise.


Sold. Hammer: $800.00; Price Realized: $980.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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