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Flesh and Blood - Francois Mauriac

Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1954, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with a small stain to the panel, short closed tear to the head of the same, a tape-repaired tear to the head of the lower panel and heavier rubbing to the spine ends and corners. Price Clipped. Edges of the text block lightly spotted.

First British Edition. [First Published: France, 1920 as ‘La Chair et le Sang’] From the cover: “Flesh and Blood is an early novel, completed by Mauriac in 1920 and published in Paris in 1923. It has not previously appeared in English.

Like many of his novels it is a tribute to and a protest against, the power of sensual passion. The chief character is Claude Favereau, son of the bailiff of Lur, a chateau in the Gironde. When the book opens, Claude is on his way back from the Seminary, for it has been discovered that he has no vocation for the priesthood. He is at once relieved to be freed from the weight of his destiny, and apprehensive of being plunged back into the crude peasant life from which he had escaped, the more because his old patron, the Marquis, has died and the chateau of Lur is now in the hands of newcomers, a wealthy Bordeaux family named Dupont-Gunther.

Bertie Dupont-Gunther is a widower; his children, Edward and May, are much the same age as Claude. Edward dabbles in art and prides himself upon his emancipation from bourgeois prejudices, including religion (the Dupont-Gunthers are Protestants). May is devout and scrupulous, very shy and rather difficult because her father is trying to force her into an unwelcome marriage. Between Edward, Claude and May a bond of friendship is rapidly formed; they are all young, rebellious and romantic. Edward alternately draws out Claude and makes fun of his religious beliefs, while Claude is both fascinated and repelled by Edward. With May he falls completely in love.

Even at this early stage of his writing, Mauriac is affirming the power of human beings over each other, and of God over all. He is perhaps unique among modern writers in this power to give his characters full stature, even in a novel dealing with a very brief period of their lives. As for the background, Mauriac’s little world of the Gironde is drawn with such solidity that the reader feels himself a witness, while the Parisian scenes are written with satirical humour.”

Size: 8½" x 5½". Gray boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. In the Collected Edition of the Novels of François Mauriac series. 190 pages.

This one has already found a new owner.