Heritage Press – Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos de Laclos (1940)

December 27, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos de Laclos (1940)

Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos de Laclos (1940)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Chas Laborde
Introduced by Andre Gide, translated by Ernest Dowson
Heritage Press exclusive; part of the Nonesuch Press/Heritage Press Great French Writers collaboration.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Dangerous Acquaintances is our selection today, continuing our look into the Heritage/Nonesuch Great French Romances series. This book was the progenitor of the line, being the first issued back in 1940. For a more detailed look into the series,  see here. This edition, like yesterday’s post on The Princess of Cleves, is from the Nonesuch Press. Alas, this is also not my copy, and it too lacks a Sandglass or whatever Nonesuch may have issued, so I won’t go into production details here. Like Cleves, this volume’s a Heritage exclusive. The Limited Editions Club never printed this book (or anything else by Choderlos De Laclos), and they did not rehire illustrator Chas Laborde for any other commissions.

Dangerous Acquaintances is structured like a series of letters sent between the primary cast, and is very critical of the French Aristocracy, particularly the Ancien Regime. Published in 1782, it has gone on to become one of the premiere examples of the epistolary novel in any language, but its intent continues to be debated to this very day (De Laclos never specified his reasoning for writing the piece in his lifetime).

Chas Laborde did the artwork for this edition, and his hand seems apropos for the novel. As I mentioned before, he was not called upon again by Macy.

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Title Page – “Englished” by Ernest Dowson (a strange way of putting it), and introduced by fairly renowned French writer Andre Gide.

Examples of the Illustrations by Leborde (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – Like Cleves, this is a work I’d like to read sometime, but this copy is not mine; it’s from my wife’s university library.

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