Lettres de Mlle de Lespinasse | précédées d’une notice de Sainte-Beuve et suivies des autres écrits de l’auteur et des principaux documents qui le concernent (Garnier Féres, Libraires-Editeurs, nd )
4.75″x7″, xxvi+434, quarter calf over marbled boards with marbled pastdowns, gilt titles and decorations on spine, 5 raised bands, edges marbled, good+ condition, minor bumping and rubbing, binding sound
Title translates to “Letters of Miss de Lespinasse | preceded by a notice of Sainte-Beuve and followed by other writings of the author and the main documents concerning her”. Two volumes of Mlle de Lespinasse’s letters, first published in 1809, displayed her as a writer of rare intensity. Mlle de Lespinasse’s letters center on her great and thwarted love for two men: Don José y Gonzaga, Marquis de Mora, who was the son of the Spanish ambassador in Paris, and Jacques-Antoine-Hippolyte, Comte de Guibert, a French general and writer. They offer a portrait of someone who saw herself as a tragic heroine sacrificing all for love. There are 180 letters dated 1773-1776.
Letters to the Comte de Guibert
Soon after the Marquis de Mora returned to Spain, Mlle de Lespinasse became acquainted with the man who would become the main passion of her life, the Comte de Guibert, then a colonel. Her letters to Guibert began in 1773 and soon record her as torn between her affection for Mora and her new infatuation. Later letters describe her partial disenchantment occasioned by Guibert’s marriage to another woman in 1775 and her increasing despair.
Letters to the Marquis de Mora
Mlle de Lespinasse first met the Marquis de Mora about two years after establishing her own salon. Encountering him again two years later, she fell in love with him, and he fully returned her feelings. He began to suffer symptoms of tuberculosis, however, and returned to Spain for his health. Mlle de Lespinasse’s letters reveal the pain she experienced from the separation and her anxiety over Mora’s poor health. On the way back to Paris in 1774 to fulfill promises exchanged with Mlle de Lespinasse, the marquis died at Bordeaux at the age of 30.