GAUTIER (Judith)

Two autograph letters signed in connection with the publication of Le Dragon Impérial.

[1870s (?)]

2 letters of 2 pp. and 2 pp. and a half, (155 x 95 mm); traces of glue on the verso of the last leaves of each letter.

[First letter]
Le Dragon impérial is only 300 pages long and I believe, if you insist on shortening it, that it could be reduced to 200 pages by making cuts in the descriptions.
The historical character of the book and the picture of Chinese mores it presents are indeed likely to be of interest at the moment.
What I can offer you outside The Imperial Dragon is of far less value and interest.
Yours sincerely
Judith Gautier
"au près des oiseaux" Dinard St Enogat Ille et Vilaine.

[Second letter]
St Enogat - Dinard Ille et Vilaine
30th Sept.
Dear Sir,
I'm afraid my reply to your letter of September 1st has not reached you, as I have had no news since.
My newspaper is now asking for permission to reproduce the Dragon Impérial and I don't want to reply until I know whether you still intend to publish the novel, in which case my answer would be negative.
Yours sincerely
Judith Gautier

Interesting exchanges between Judith Gautier and the editor of a newspaper seeking to publish her famous novel.

A few words about the Imperial Dragon:

  • Victor Hugo (1872): "I have read your Imperial Dragon. What a powerful and graceful art yours is! You have the soul of this poetry of the Far East within you, and you breathe it into your books. Going to China is almost like going to the moon. You take us on a sidereal journey. We follow you in ecstasy, and you escape into the deep blue of dreams, winged and starry. Please accept my admiration."
  • Journal des Goncourt: "Then he [Théophile Gautier] takes me aside and talks to me long and lovingly about the Imperial Dragon and his daughter. You can tell he's proud to have created this brain... And," he adds, "she created herself, she made herself, we raised her like a little dog, that we let run on the table, nobody, so to speak, taught her to write."
  • Anatole France (1889): "His first novel, I should say his first poem (for these are really poems) is the Dragon impérial, a book all embroidered in silk and gold, and of a style limpid in its brilliance. I'm not talking about the descriptions, which are marvelous. But the main figure, who stands out against a background of unprecedented richness, the poet Ko-Li-Tsin, already has that character of wild pride, youthful heroism, strange chivalry, which Judith Gautier knows how to imprint on her main creations and which makes them so original. The young woman's imagination is cruel and violent in this first work, but she already and definitively has that proud chastity and romantic purity that honors her."


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