Rousseau conceived in 1756 an epistolary novel in six parts. The love of Julie and Saint-Preux cannot go on because of their social difference. The young woman's parents force a socially acceptable marriage to which she resigns herself. The former lovers avoid falling into adultery.
This whole story is told by letters exchanged between the various characters. The young man confides his feelings to a Milord and the young woman to a cousin. The first title is too long : Lettres de deux amans, habitans d'une petite ville aux pieds des Alpes. The novel will become famous in its subtitle, Julie ou La Nouvelle Héloïse, by reference to the thwarted love of Héloïse and Abélard.
The six parts of the author's personal autograph manuscript were separated into several sets during the French Revolution. The Third Part was sold for € 384K including premium by Sotheby's on June 27, 2007. It is estimated € 400K for sale on November 14 in Paris - Hotel Drouot by OVA Aristophil operated for this sale by Aguttes, lot 207.
This part is complete of its 26 letters. It consists of 110 pages recto in a 24 x 18 cm quarto. It had been lent, probably at the beginning of 1758, to Madame d'Houdetot who was nervous with the gossips from that cumbersome lover whom she will soon call "an interesting madman". Rousseau will say later in a surprising lucidity : "We were drunk with love one and the other, she for her lover, me for her".
The manuscript was later enriched by Rousseau within the text and on the opposite pages with the 900 handwritten corrections that lead to the first edition published in Amsterdam in 1761. The author had begun in 1758 for his publisher another complete and conformant manuscript, without erasures, which is the terminus ante quem of the preparation of the final draft.
The novel enthused its readers because the epistolary style associated a real language to a deep emotion. Its social analysis disturbed the Church which banned it in 1806. The philosopher novelist had achieved his goals.
SOLD for € 370K before fees