Paul-Louis Courier

French Hellenist and political writer, 1772-1825

Courier's career as a political pamphleteer began after the second restoration of the Bourbons. He had before this time waged war against local wrongs in his own district, and had been the adviser and helpful friend of his neighbours. He now made himself by his letters and pamphlets one of the most dreaded opponents of the government of the Restoration. His writings, dealing with the facts and events of his own time, are valuable sources of information as to the condition of France before, during, and after the Revolution.

Source: Wikipedia

Courier, Paul-Louis

French writer (1772-1825). Autograph letter signed. Lyon. 4to. 2½ pp. With autograph address.
$ 4,874 / 4.500 € (46918)

Rare and content-rich letter to Adam Klevanski, an illegitimate son of the famous Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski, fellow hellenist, and close friend. Courier wrote from Lyon while on the way to serve under general Championnet in Rome. Although he had already received Klevanski's letter in Rennes, where he was previously posted, he felt like his circumstances since didn't allow to take up the correspondence properly, with the letter at hand being only to inform his friend of his ongoing "preparation" to do so.

Nevertheless, he reminisces about the time spent together and thanks his friend for a description of his "hikes in the Pyrenees," while also lamenting that Klevanski didn't go earlier, when they could have met in Bagnères-de-Bigorre: "J’aime fort le récit que vous me faites de vos courses dans les Pyrénées; mais pourquoi faut-il que l’idée de ce charmant voyage vous soit venue si tard. […] Ainsi je m’en prends à mon étoile, et j’accuse les dieux qui, pour quelques raisons que nous ignorons, ne veulent pas apparemment nous voir ensemble si près d’eux, non plus que Castor et Pollux." In return for the descriptions of the Pyrenees, Courier announces a recapitulation of "accidents, and misfortunes" on the way from Rennes to Rome. For the moment, he could only quote Horace and apologize for the letter as he was staying in a "cursed inn" and was in a "state of mind and body" that made a proper response impossible: "Me pardonnerez-vous toutes ces citations et suis-je excusable en effet de vous envoyer une misérable rhapsodie, brodée ou bordée de la pourpre d’Horace, au lieu d’une lettre décente [...] je vous écris stans pede in uno, dans une maudite auberge, entouré de bruit et d’importuns. Est-ce dans une pareille situation de corps et d’esprit qu’on peut causer avec vous ?" However, as he was hoping to stay in Milan for "5 or six weeks" he promises that his letters providing "a deluge of observations" on his "Odysee" will "rain down" on Klevanski from that point on: "J’inonderai le premier papier qui me tombera sous la main d’un déluge d’observations dont je charge pour vous ma mémoire depuis que j’ai reçu votre lettre. Lectures, voyages, spectacles, bals, auteurs, femmes, Paris, Lyon, les Alpes, l’Italie, voilà l’Odyssée que je vous garde, mes lettres vous pleuvront. Une page pour une ligne, et dans peu vous en aurez haut comme cela, c’est à dire pardessus la tête." - Traces of folds. Slightly stained. With a tear from breaking the seal. Published in: Correspondance générale (éd. G. Viollet-le-Duc), vol. I, p. 99..

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