Title page of L’Arlésienne, signed by Alphonse Daudet. Please click on the image to download the PDF (3.9MB)

This is a signed first edition of the play L’Arlésienne, inscribed by its author, the famous French novelist, Alphonse Daudet, who had first written it as a novel (published in 1869). He has inscribed the play in Provencal, rather than in French, for Paul Mounet (1847-1922), who played the lead part of Balthazar in the 1885 performance at the Théatre National de l’Odéon in Paris. (Mounet later became the head of the Comédie Française.)

L’Arlésienne means ‘the woman from Arles’, and is set in Provence.

The incidental music for this production was written by Georges Bizet, and as ‘The L’Arlésienne Suite’, this music remains one of his most popular compositions. As the title page makes clear, Bizet was credited as the composer of the ‘symphonies et choeurs’ for the play, the production of which thus relied heavily upon his musical contribution. The play was first produced in 1872 at the Vaudeville Theatre in Paris. On the occasion of its revival in 1885, this script was first published in a soft cover, and Daudet would have had this specially bound for presentation to Mounet.

This play was later adapted in 1897 as an opera entitled in Italian L’arlesiana, with the libretto by Marenco, and music by Francesco Cilea. 

A second L’Arlésienne Suite was composed after Bizet’s death by another composer, Ernest Guirand.

The images shown in the pdf are, first, the exquisite Morocco leather binding of the book, then the original soft cover which is bound within, then the page bearing the inscription, then the title page, and finally, the cast list and the initial page of text.