La mort de Venise

Year: 1936

Author: Maurice Barrès (1862 - 1923)

Artist: Henry de Waroquier (1881 - 1970)

Publisher: Cercle Lyonnais du Livre

La mort de Venise, title page

Writer and politician Maurice Barrès purportedly first travelled to Venice at the age of 24. His second trip to Italy, undertaken in 1887 – and particularly his stay in the city of bridges, canals and islands – marked the beginning of Barrès' authorship. Inspired by Stendhal's theme of egotism or self-cultivation, Barrès felt he had to become a writer in order to 'write'himself. He saw Venice as a symbol of this 'culte de moi', providing him with a feverish feeling of happiness: he had been born there, and it was there that he was to be reborn.

Henry de Waroquier

Barrès's La mort de Venise first appeared in 1902 in the collection Amori et dolori sacrum. More than ten years after Barrès' death, an edition first appeared that had been provided with well-documented and subtly executed engravings by painter/engraver Henry de Waroquier. The artist had been given this commission as early as 1931. During the book presentation on 17 June 1936 he delivered a speech for Le Cercle Lyonnais du Livre, the book's publisher. He thanked the association of bibliophiles for their patience. Like them, he was a proponent of traditional typographic techniques and crafts. For this book, Waroquier collaborated with Maurice Darantiere, who – most unusually – printed all names in the text in red. Waroquier's acknowledgment takes a different approach: the names there are printed in green.

Le Cercle Lyonnais du Livre

The bibliophiles of Le Cercle Lyonnais du Livre mostly hailed from the area surrounding Lyon, but their membership also included famous names like La Rochefoucauld and Rothschild. The society published artists' books from 1921 until 1964 via book dealers Masson and Blaizot. The latter is still a highly renowned antiquarian book dealer. This edition of La mort de Venise by Maurice Barrès was finished in 1936, but once the book had been printed, one of the quires was reprinted in its entirety in order to represent the correct text. In a later stage, the first edition (1902) was favoured over the definitive edition (1921). The members received both the old and the corrected quire, so they could choose between the two variations themselves.

Bibliographical description

Description: La mort de Venise / Maurice Barrès ; eaux fortes orig. / Henry de Waroquier. - Lyon, Cercle Lyonnais du Livre, 1936. - 129 p. : ill. ; 38 cm

Printer: Maurice Darantiere (text) É. Brunel (etchings)

Edition: 160 copies

This copy: Number 13 of 120 on Vidalon

Note: This copy has been printed for Monsieur le Docteur Jean Audry

Note: With corrected preliminary pages and p. 33-34, 39-40. With the printed text of Henry de Waroquier's speech at the Cercle Lyonnais du Livre on 17 juni 1936 (8 pages).

Bibliography: Bénézit 14-456 ; Carteret 4-60 ; Monod 1024

Shelfmark: KW Koopm K 324


  • Emmanuel Godo, La légende de Venise. Maurice Barrès et la tentation de l'écriture. Villeneuve d'Ascq, Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 1996
  • Raymond Hesse, Le livre d'après guerre et les sociétés de bibliophiles 1918-1928. Paris, Grasset, 1929
  • Sarah Vajda, Maurice Barrès. Paris, Flammarion, 2000
  • Charles Vildrac, 'Henry de Waroquier', in : L'art et décoration , 42 (1922), p. 103-110