Title: Autograph letter signed "Victor Hugo", to ...
Publication Date: 1864
Book Condition: Very Good+
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
HUGO, Victor-Marie (1802-1885) – JERSEY. Autograph letter signed "Victor Hugo", to the daughters of Philippe Asple, the "Pauvres Chères Petites," whose mother has recently died. Hauteville House [38 rue Hauteville, St Peter Port, Jersey,] 22 janvier 1864". 2pp., written in black ink, in French, recto only of a bifolium (202 x 127mm.). Letter concerning the death of the young girl’s mother, offering sympathy and advice, one or two words crossed through, mounted onto the recto of the fourth leaf in an album. The album belonging to the girls, was published by Ackermann & Co., has paper watermarked 1843, and contains 222 pp. of poems and reflections and clipped and pasted-in postcards, greeting cards, various ephemera (some photographic) and densely drawn skillful sketches. Small quarto (235 x 183mm). Original brown morocco elaborately tooled in gilt and blind, lettered "ALBUM" to spine, decorative endpapers (a small piece torn from the upper blank margin of the second leaf). Provenance (of the album): Mr. & Mrs. Philippe Asplet (by descent): Letitia Asplet (signature). A warm sympathy letter addressed to the three daughters of one of Hugo’s strongest supporters in Jersey. Hugo had been in exile on the island from 1852-1855, along with other political refugees, many from France. His strong international presence gained him the reputation of "figurehead" for the Island. Jersey was a stimulating source of creative inspiration for Hugo. Many of his most famous poems were written there: Les Châtiments, much of Les Contemplations, and many others included eventually in later publications (like Les Quatre vents de l'Esprit). Contained in the album are various notes, caricatures and postcards that recall Jersey’s artistic community and the Island’s role as an asylum for the French proscrits of the mid-19th century. Also including, entries dated between 1859 and 1870, with one stray later entry from 1915. There are six portrait/caricatures by the listed artists J.F. Draper, dated 1859, presumably of Jersey figures, and a number of early photographs (4 views of Guernsey, 2 portraits and a number of art reproductions). The poetry includes several indifferent love poems apparently addressed to Letitia, but also some that are rather wider ranging. There are two poems in French by Hugo's one-time secretary Adolphe Pelleport - one, dated August 1864, a lengthy hymn of praise to Jersey as a place of refuge and freedom. The Franco-Prussian war is touched on in a 3pp. poem by 'F.L.H', dated 2 October 1870, concerning the battle of Sedan. In addition there are a number of original poems in a single hand that are either the work of Letitia, or possibly her father Philippe Asplet, who wrote under the name Flip or L'Anmin Flippe. As a supporter of Victor Hugo and the French proscrits, he attacked the decision to force Hugo to leave Jersey. Bookseller Inventory # D4457
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