Julien Green's Leviathan manuscript expected to make a monstrous $239,000
A handwritten manuscript of Julien Green's 'a terrible and hopeless romance' Leviathan is to sell
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Saturday 26 November 2011
This Sunday sees an exciting sale of books and manuscripts related to the French writer Julien Green, which his fans (of which there are many in Europe) will not want to miss.
The star lot, without a doubt, is an autograph manuscript of the author's short story Leviathan, signed and dated and 255 pages in length with six drawings by Green himself. Pages tabs mounted in a beautiful midnight blue morocco binding are signed G. Desnaux.
The back shows the name of the author, title and year "1928" in gold. It is held in a blue paper box with a double gold band. 'Robert Saint John' is printed in gold on the front.
It is a precious complete manuscript of this masterpiece published in 1929 by Éditions Plon. As suggested at the end by the words "January 16, 1928 - 1st January 1929," Green took a full year to compose what is probably his first real masterpiece - a terrible and hopeless romance.
In this manuscript first draft, the writing is nice and fluid, often with impeccable lines crossed out and corrected, reminding us of the energy and the intransigence of the author who did not hesitate to return to work tirelessly his texts.
There are also several drawings (one pictured above), most with legends, mostly of a round-looking woman in different situations.
After reading Leviathan Maurice Maeterlinck wrote a long letter to Green April 30, 1929 (it appears in the auction as Lot No. 182) "My dear fellow, I read a few novels, because at a certain age we are interested in small and poorly eternal romantic and sexual matters which form the background.
"But your Leviathan is another thing, and I read without stopping as if I had suddenly discovered an underground Balzac passing his miner's lamp into darkness denser than that to which we are accustomed. And what a beautiful light when at times he leaves his mine and look at the scenery!".
Drieu La Rochelle also addressed four beautiful pages to Green regarding the work (the letter is Lot No. 165) including:
An intriguing note signed by Charles Dickens
"You are the best novelist, ahead of Mauriac and Bernanos. Jouhandeau is too punctilious, Bernanos too laborious, Mauriac too lazy, what will become of Malraux? It would be better to go elsewhere, with Montherlant ... "!
Green's manuscript is expected to sell for CHF200,000 - CHF220,000 ($239,000) in Piette Bergé's auction in Geneva on November 27.
Manuscripts in the hand of great writers are always coveted. For example, we have letter written and signed by Charles Dickens (one of the English language's greatest writers, and a celebrity of his day as we explained in our blog).
Recent and related articles
· Abraham Lincoln 'white rabbits' letter is worth following to this California sale | 23 November 2011
· 'Lost Dauphin' Louis Charles's rare autograph finds its way to $30,000 at sale | 20 November 2011
· Paul McCartney handwritten letter to 'wannabe drummer' hits $54,994 | 17 November 2011
Guides and analysis
Images: Pierre Bergé