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Daniel Good Rare Books and Engravings

Belle Époque. Book. Yvette Guibert’s working typoscript of ‘Guibour’

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Belle Époque. Yvette Guibert’s working typoscript of ‘Guibour’

French actress, singer and storyteller, whose repertoire ranged from medieval ballads to suggestive popular songs. Muse to Toulouse-Lautrec and friend to Sigmund Freud.

Typoscript edition in German of Guibour: A Miracle Play of Our Lady owned by Yvette Guibert (1865-1944), signed and with her Paris address to the front cover in her hand. Quarto. 53 pages. Stamp of the “Agence Générale de Copies Dramatiques et Littéraires [...] H. Compère, Paris.

Guibert’s working copy with underlining in red pencil.

Born in Paris into a poor family as Emma Laure Esther Guilbert, Guilbert began singing as a child but at age sixteen worked as a model at the Printemps department store in Paris. She was discovered by a journalist. She took acting and diction lessons, which enabled her in 1886 to appear on stage at several smaller venues. Guilbert debuted at the Variette Theatre in 1888. She eventually sang at the popular Eldorado club, then at the Jardin de Paris before headlining in Montmartre at the Moulin Rouge in 1890.

She was a favorite subject of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who made many portraits and caricatures of Guilbert and dedicated his second album of sketches to her. Sigmund Freud attended performances, including one in Vienna, and called her a favorite singer. George Bernard Shaw wrote a review highlighting her novelty.

In later years, Guilbert turned to writing about the Belle Époque and in 1902 two of her novels (La Vedette and Les Demi-vieilles) were published. In the 1920s there appeared her instructional book L'art de chanter une chanson (The art of singing a Song).

On June 22, 1897, Guilbert married Max Schiller, a Viennese biologist whom she met during one of her tours in New York. After the First World War, she appeared in a number of films and developed a new repertoire based on her research into the history of old French songs and medieval ballads, which she collected and published.

During her life, Guilbert became a respected authority on her country's medieval folklore, as reflected in this typoscript for a German production of Guibour: A Miracle Play of Our Lady. Guilbert performed the title role in New York in 1919.

Light age toning; some pages dog eared; wrappers worn at edges.