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Droll Stories (Contes Drolatiques) is a grouping of short stories written in the 1830s by the French author Honore de Balzac. Considered one of his masterworks, it is notable for its commentary upon French society of the time, wordplay, and "good-humoured licentiousness." Gustave Dore's engravings for this book are considered among his best and his most gothic. As noted by one reviewer: "There is a tremendous amount of physical comedy juxtaposed with the extravagant horror."

This particular copy of Droll Stories is a 10 x 7 inch, 650-page-long book published by The Bibliophilist Society. There is no date given for the publication, but based upon my research, it is probably from the 1920's or 1930's. The table of contents lists the engravings and notes that there are 424 in total -- the sizes vary from small, partial-page to half-page to full-page in size. The stories by Balzac include are grouped into three sets of ten tales and include The Venial Sin, The Succubus and Bertha the Penitent.

A combination of two creative forces of nature, this is a great and substantial vintage copy.


The blue-black cloth cover is very plain, although there is a design on the spine, but it is somewhat faded. The tips are bumped and rubbed, and the top of the spine shows a bit of shelfwear. The front cover is a bit pulled away from the text block, but only to the extent that around 1/8 inch of the reinforcing netting is showing. There are no inscriptions or markings in the book. The pages are clean and sturdily attached, and show only the smallest amount of age-related yellowing. The book edges are slightly deckled (rough-cut) and the top edge was colored red by the publisher. This is by and large and clean and tight copy.

Droll Stories - il. by Gustave Dore - Honore de Balzac - Est. 1930s reprint

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  • Vintage item from the 1930s
  • Only ships within United States.
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