Droll Tales 20

“Desperate Love”, “Despair in Love”, and “Love’s Despair” are the varied title translations of the last story in the second Decade of Honoré de Balzac’s largely scurrilous selection, illustrated respectively by

Mervyn Peake, with his mastery of the simple line;

by Gustave Doré with his packed detail;

and by Jean de Bosschère who produces his own particular interpretation.

This is a short story telling of a handsome and melancholy young man enamoured of a great lady, yet becoming tongue-tied and limp-limbed when attempting to translate the fiercely erotic energy imbued into his skilful sculpting to the wooing of the tantalising temptress.

Further details of each of these publications is given in https://derrickjknight.com/2023/01/06/droll-tales-1/except that the second Decade is published by New York’s Covici, Friede in 1929. It is America’s first edition thus and is a limited copy. The illustrations are not protected by tissue but the book’s condition is quite good and covered by a cellophane wrapper.