L'illustre magicien

Year: 1920

Author: J.A. (Comte) de Gobineau (1816 - 1882)

Artist: C.A. Picart Le Doux (1881 - 1959)

Publisher: Pichon

L'illustre magicien, title page

L'illustre magicien is a reprint of a nineteenth-century story in a traditional, polished, deluxe edition. The book was provided by wood-engravings by Charles Alexandre Picart Le Doux, printed in an edition of 421 copies by Léon Pichon (1876-?). This copy of the oriental novella by Joseph Arthur de Gobineau was bound in parchment by an unknown bookbinder. The copy in the Koopman Collection is number 90, and its origins are quite interesting.

The bookplate of Adelina and Ricardo Güiraldes has been pasted to the interior of the front cover. In the rear of the book, on the opposite side of the colophon, a short dedication has been handwritten: 'A gift to Adelina Güiraldes from her friend Adrienne Monnier Paris 3 June 1922'. Adrienne Monnier (1892-1955) was a friend to all prominent French writers, she was a well known publisher, book dealer, and stimulator of literary life in Paris during the interbellum period. But who was Adelina?

Autograph dedication from Adrienne Monnier to Adelina Güiraldes

Ricardo Guïraldes

Adelina, née Del Carril, married the Argentinean author Ricardo Güiraldes (1886-1927) in 1913. This writer lacked a stimulating literary environment in Argentina; he would occasionally travel to Paris to taste the atmosphere of modern literary life, and his wife Adeline would accompany him on these long transatlantic journeys. Ricardo Güiraldes was an admirer of Valery Larbaud, and after their first meeting around 1920, the two authors associated with each other like old friends.

Larbaud, who had great affection for Spanish-language literature, introduced Güiraldes to Adrienne Monnier and the literary circle in her famous bookstore La Maison des Amis des Livres. Léon Paul Fargue, Jules Romains, Francis de Miomandre and gave Güiraldes a warm welcome. The best-known work by Ricardo Güiraldes is Don Segundo Sombra (1926) about the character of the 'gaucho'. One of the characters is highly reminiscent of his French literary friend, Valerio Larba.

Adrienne Monnier was very involved with 'her' authors. She hung a portrait of Güiraldes in her bookstore, she corresponded with him (after his return to Buenos Aires) and she clearly struck up a friendship with his wife, with whom she continued to correspond after Ricardo's death in 1927. Adelina Güiraldes was one of the appreciated overseas members of the society La Maison des Amis des Livres, and Monnier gave her this edition in 1922.

Bibliographical description

Description: L'illustre magicien / Comte de Gobineau ; avec les grav. sur bois de Picart Le Doux. - Paris : Pichon, 1920. - 64 p. : ill. ; 26 cm

1st edition: 1876

Printer: Léon Pichon

Edition: 421 copies

This copy: Number 90 of 370

Note: With handwritten dedication to Adelina Guïraldes by Adrienne Monnier

Bibliography: Carteret V-92 ; Mahé II-244 ; Monod-5497

Shelfmark: KW Koopm A 63


  • Alberto Oscar Blasi, Güiraldes y Larbaud: una amistad creadora. Buenos Aires, Nova, [1970]
  • Henri Focillon, Léon Pichon: Imprimeur Parisien. Wien, Philobiblon, 1936
  • Laure Murat, Passage de l'Odéon: Sylvia Beach, Adrienne Monnier et la vie littéraire à Paris dans l'entre-deux-guerres. Paris, Fayard, 2003
  • Giovanni Previtali, Ricardo Güiraldes and Don Segundo Sombra: Life and works. New York, Hispanic Institute, 1963