By Danuta Kean
Letter from ‘jealous’ author, as well as another by Gustave Flaubert defending Madame Bovary will be sold from collection worth an estimated €3m
A treasure trove of letters and diaries revealing the secrets of some of France’s greatest literary figures is about to go on sale in Paris. Correspondence and journals by Gustave Flaubert, Victor Hugo and Marcel Proust are among 230 lots to be sold alongside a rare first edition of Galileo’s Discorsi on 26 April.
Amassed by Geneva-based Jean Bonna, who has been described as the greatest collector of French literature in the world, the collection is a fraction of material acquired over the past 50 years. Bonna said he was streamlining his collection to concentrate on French literature. Admitting he felt “a little bit sad” to sell the Galileo, which is expected to make in excess of €700,000 (£585,000), he added: “It is a wonderful book, and the best copy I have ever seen, but it does not belong in my collection because it is a scientific book and not French literature.”