Hard Cover. Paris: G. Charpentier, 1877. 1st Edition. Near Fine.
First edition, first printing. Finely bound in ½ brown Morocco, over brown marbled boards, five raised bands, gilt lettering and decorations to the spine, top edge gilt, magenta marbled endpapers. A near fine copy, with the publisher's yellow paper wrappers bound in, a minor hint of wear to the spine ends and corners, light spotting throughout, else fine. Very scarce. Trois Contes is a collection of three stories: "Un cœur simple," "La légende de Saint-Julien l'hospitalier," and "Hérodias." Flaubert had been working on his incomplete novel Bouvard and Pécuchet (published posthumously) for over a decade when he decided to take break to write these short stories. Although each has a different and unrelated plot, Flaubert envisioned these three stories as a single unit, leading to their publication in a single volume. Each story has a religious motif, ranging from characters undergoing spiritual enlightenment and traveling with disguised angels to an adaptation of the Biblical tale of the beheading of John the Baptist. The title Trois Contes emphasizes the religious undertones by making this volume a trilogy rather than a collection of stories, alluding to the Biblical Holy Trinity.