Droll Tales 15

“A Courtier’s False Wife” is The Folio Society’s title for the fifth tale of the second Decade of Balzac’s scurrilous series, illustrated by

Mervyn Peake.

Gustave Doré’s publishers prefer “The False Courtesan”,

whereas those of Jean de Bosschère opt for “The Sham Courtesan”.

Once again I think the later publishers have chosen the correct alternatives, because this is the story of the lengths to which the Duke of Orleans has gone in order trick a faithful couple into infidelity – with each other. The lady in question is false to a courtesan identity, not in reality as a wife.

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 good and it is covered by a cellophane wrapper.