29th March 2022
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MANUSCRIPT. [A hand-written journal of a four and a half month tour of Northern France and Jersey. N.p.:] 1827. Vol. 2 (only). 99pp., manuscript, 8vo (194 x 122mm.) A mostly legible retrospective account of a journey around Montagne, Caen, Granville and a voyage to Jersey, noting architecture, chapels and churches, the characteristics of the French and the English, with a 3pp. index of events to the rear. (Mild toning, occasional spotting.) Contemporary half calf over marbled paper-covered boards (rubbing to all extremities). Note: the unnamed narrator, of no obvious gender, writes with insight- and sometimes high irony- with a literary sensibility attuned to the significance of incidental moments: the risk of 'dislocating' your neck on the rough roads, the fascination of meeting a 'maniac' on his way to the asylum, an ex-soldier who clearly has 'deep and powerful feelings'. There are visits to churches and convents, and La Trappe monastery where the narrator is unimpressed by the vow of silence, and feels 'the chilling influence of these living dead'. There's a keen awareness of the Englishman abroad, someone who behaves with 'jealousy and mistrust' as if 'for the maintenance of his imaginary dignity'. On meeting a West Country farmer and his wife holidaying in France, the narrator relates how appalled the farmer was at the French inability to understand English, or accept orders, and how 'this truly original pair' became their companions 'in our flight from the dullness and disappointment of Granville'.
Hammer price: £420
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