This French-language book on superstition in Napoleon's day is a unique and important artefact, a primary source on mid-century French popular occultism, for the fact that the author used this, his personal copy, as a volume in which to create a two-volume illustrated version which doubled as an occult scrapbook. This unique book is a rare testament to mid-20th-century occult Paris.


Author Georges Meuguin (1881-1961) was editor in chief of the Revue de l'Institute Napoleon, the institute being a society founded in 1932 and devoted to Napoloenic studes. Meuguin's occult interest in Napoleon was comprehensive: the title is Napoleon et la Superstition: anecdotes et curiosites, 'Napoleon and Superstition: Anecdotes and Curiosities.' The single volume work was printed  - presumably at the author's instruction - into two volumes with intermittent blank pages to be his personal copy. This he filled with pictures, letters and ephemera and marked up with neat notes.

      The bulging volumes preserve psychics' cards, occult leaflets, advertisements, articles, autograph letters, and photographs which he himself had taken. The pages boast a bewildering variety of additional material and ephemera. Literally hundreds of clippings, photographs, notes, manuscript letters, excerpts and captions have been added to existing pages. Appropriately enough, a large quantity of the additional material relates to the occult, including business cards and advertisements for psychics and clairvoyants, original plates and photographs of everything from rituals to symbolic imagery, all carefully connected to applicable references within the text by Meuguin in his meticulous hand. Fascinating, dense, and unique. 


Publication, volume and condition:  Edition. Rodez: Carriere, 1946 [ - ca. 1957]  The book was originally published as a original single volume of 239 pages, but this copy has expanded to two volumes. Two vols, 8vo. Vol. I: 128 pp., expanded to 336 pp.  Vol. II: pp. [129] - 239, expanded to 288 pages. Original illustrated wrappes bound in half black morocco over green and gold marbled paper boards, title and author gild to spine. An advertisement on the rear paste-down gives the date 1957 showing scrapbook use until at least then.


Napoleon et la Superstition - Georges Meuguin