Modeste Mignon

1899, limited edition, the fifth story in Balzac's Scènes de la vie privée (Scenes of Private Life)


Honore de Balzac, translated into English by Gertrude Christian Fosdick. With five etchings by Eugene Decisy after paintings by Pierre Vidal


Leonard Smithers, London, 1899
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Printing Details

First thus. Limited to 250 copies (this one unnumbered). Hardback bound in the original red cloth with gilt titling and design to spine and printed face to upper. Top edge gilt, fore-edge untrimmed. 21.5 × 14.5cm, 407pp.

Balzac's Modest Mignon is the fifth of the Scènes de la vie privée (Scenes of Private Life) in La Comédie humaine. Modeste Mignon, a young provincial woman of romantic temperament, imagines herself to be in love with the famous Parisian poet Melchior de Canalis. However, he is not moved by her attentions. He invites his secretary Ernest de la Brière to "deal with the matter". Ernest answers Modeste's letters in his name and acts as her lover, disguised as Canalis. The scene changes dramatically when Ernest discovers that Modeste is, in fact, a rich heiress. Will he be able to win her heart despite his lie?

This edition is illustrated with five full page tissue-guarded plates.


Very good condition. There is light sunning to the spine but only minor bumping to the spine ends and corners. The inner binding is secure and the pages are clean.



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