FIRST AMERICAN EDITION translated by Francis A. Durivage and William S. Chase.
ALPHONSE LAMARTINE 's copy, inscribed by translators :
"M. de Lamartine
with the profond respect of the translators"
Born on 1790, Lamartine became famous after the publication of his masterpiece, Les Méditations Poétiques (1820). Awarded Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1825, he was elected as member of the Académie française in 1829.
Around 1830, Lamartine's opinions shifted in the direction of liberalism. When elected in 1833 to the National Assembly, he quickly founded his own "Social Party" with some influence from Saint-Simonian ideas and established himself as a prominent critic of the July Monarchy.
During the 1848 French Revolution, when he was briefly in charge of the government as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lamartine delivered a speech before a raging crowd wanting to replace the French flag with a red flag. Lamartine’s popularity soared after this speech and the major role it played during the events of February ; his leadership inspired his nation and the world. As the Democratic Review put it, Lamartine arose "like the spirit of the storm-king riding triumphantly on the tempestuous deep, bidding the winds and waves of popular tumult to hush, and cease their murmuring; - then by his impassioned eloquence… did he breast and stay that onward march of death"
Larry J. Reynold remarks in European Revolutions and the American Literary Renaissance : "To many Americans, though Lamartine seemed, especially after the Red Revolution, a heroic man of peace, a living part of heaven, too divine for the world of men".
Indeed, many commentators praised Lamartine like James Russell Lowell, in his Ode To Lamartine, 1848 , or Magaret Fuller in the Tribune, and mainly Walt Whitman, as editor in numerous issues of the Brooklyn Daily Times, : "More and more noble grows the character of Lamartine, the more he is round with trials, and the greater the dangers that menace him. It is beautiful to see such a man ! It works out a stronger argument against Kings than all the philosophy of the most scholastic radicals. For where is there - where has there ever been - such King !"
This vision of Lamartine had a considerable impact on American literature, influencing for example Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, or Melville's Moby Dick.
De la bibliothèque d'André Girodie (ex-libris manuscrit), historien de l’art du XVIIIe siècle et des arts décoratifs du bois, spécialiste de l'Alsace (1874-1946), bibliothécaire, conservateur de musée.