Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bibliophiles, start your drooling

This makes my head spin:
After 80 years in the book trade, Beres, 93, has accumulated an enormous collection of sought-after editions and signed albums that constituted a virtual history of French literature from the medieval poet Francois Villon onwards.

...Reportedly an avid reader of the death notices in Le Figaro with deep knowledge of the private libraries of chateaux across France and a winning way with their owners, Beres was tenacious in his pursuit of rare books wherever they could be found.

But he was also close to some of the leading artistic and literary figures of the 20th century, a closeness attested to by several of the 177 items up for sale.

"Pour Pierre Beres, Hommage de l'auteur," reads a pencil inscription from Pablo Picasso on the program of a privately produced play by the great Spanish artist attended by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in 1944.

Among the other items up for sale were a first edition of Gustave Flaubert's novel "Madame Bovary" with a dedication from the author to Alexandre Dumas, and corrected proofs of another of France's great 19th century novelists, Honore de Balzac.

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