Title: LAURA. VOYAGE DANS LE CRISTAL.
Publisher: NAUMBOURG, CHEZ G. PAETZ, LIBRAIRIE-EDITEUR.
Publication Date: 1864
Book Condition: Very Good
Edition: Pirated 1st Edition
RARE UNRECORDED PIRATE of 1ST EDITION. 152 printed pages (some sporadic foxing throughout). Title page states "Paris 1864" (the official first edition was published in Paris, by Michel Lévy frères, January 1864). Bound together with similar edition of "La Maison de Penarvan" by Jules Sandeau in two volumes. 160; 127 printed pages with 17 pages of publisher's adverts at back, dated February 1864. 10 x 14.5 cm. Contemporary quarter cloth, with marble paper covered boards, blue buckram spine and corners (very slightly rubbed), with gilt lettering on spine. George Sand is the pseudonym of French author Amantine Lucille Aurore Dupin (1804-1876), a figure of cultural importance in France from the 1830s until her death; she published widely, an oeuvre which included about forty novels alone. Sand's most famous novels portray the struggles of women against social constraints, especially marriage. Legendary for her numerous love affairs with such prominent figures as Prosper Merimee, Alfred de Musset and Frederic Chopin, Sand was equally celebrated an author whose works influenced Verne, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Flaubert and Proust. George Sand & Jules Sandeau met at Le Coudray in the house of a friend, and when she came to Paris in 1831 they had a relationship. The intimacy did not last long, but it produced Rose et Blanche (1831), a novel written together under the pseudonym J. Sand, from which George Sand took her famous pseudonym. Laura Voyage dans le Cristal is of huge sf interest, being both an anticipation of Virtual Reality, in which narrator Alexis finds his cousin Laura imbued with magical romance and glamour (very different from her mundane self) in a kind of Pocket Universe literally within a crystal geode; and also a Hollow Earth tale in which Alexis and Laura's father travel to the North Pole and discover that the interior of the world is crystalline, like an enormous geode but penetrable at the poles. It is uncertain if the luridly melodramatic polar expedition is also a dreamed experience "within the crystal". It was influenced by The Earth before the Deluge, by Louis Figuier, & by the geological timescales devised by British botanist Charles Lyell. The travel account of American explorer Elisha Kane in the polar seas, is also mentioned by the character of Alexis in chapter Four. Laura could not have been inspired by Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, since Sand's novel was completed in November 1863 and appeared in the Revue des deux mondes in January 1864, while that of Verne was written and published later (November 1864, 9 motnhs after this edition). Verne may well have read Laura in La Revue des deux mondes in early 1864, & this could have influenced him decisively despite his own novel having already been well advanced. Verne later mentions George Sand's eloquence in a letter to Hetzel in 1868, while he was finishing the writing of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea & reused her distinctive mineralogical vocabulary metaphorically to describe the effects of light in icebergs in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1869. Sand was also among the authors present in Captain Nemo's fictitious library aboard the Nautilus, a discreet homage. The fourth part of Laura's journey in the crystal mentions reptiles of extinct species, but they are not named precisely, which makes it unclear whether they are dinosaurs or reptiles belonging to older geological eras; if it is about dinosaurs, that would make George Sand the first author ever to write about them in a novel. Laura is one of Sand's richest texts, engaging with concerns from education to ecology, from science to sexuality, and from the question of marriage to the poetics of representation. In particular, Laura was a significant novel in the nineteenth century early flourishing of science fiction. This unrecorded pirate edition, dated one month after the original was published, is an extremely uncommon survivor. No copies in WorldCat. Seller Inventory # 5161