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The award acknowledged Gide’s “…comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight.”

Distinguished bindings

Two of the other top lots in the sale on May 27 were of much earlier, 16th century, vintage and distinguished in varying degrees by their bindings.

Sold for €75,000 (£67,500) was an edition of Hippocratis magni coacae Praenotiones… bearing the arms of the dedicatee, Henri III, and later to be found in a number of other distinguished libraries, including that of the historian, politician and bibliophile Jacques-Auguste de Thou.

Published in Paris in 1588, this was an important early edition with both Greek and Latin text of the works of one of the great figures in the history of medicine, the Greek physician Hippocrates (c.460-370BC).

The accompanying commentary was provided by Louis Duret, a man said to have a photographic memory and to have known all the works of Hippocrates by heart. Physician to both Charles IX of France and Henri III, his brother and successor to the throne, Duret was, along with Ambroise Paré, one of great French physicians of the age.

The binding of this exceptional copy is attributed to Clovis Eve.

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The much later Trautz-Bauzonnet binding made for a 1532 edition of works of François Villon sold for €38,000 (£34,545) at Christie's Paris.

Sold at €38,000 (£34,545) was a 1532 first edition of the works of the poet François Villon. This was printed in ‘lettres rondes’, a cursive typeface that in the 19th century had acquired an elaborate binding by Trautz-Bauzonnet.