LITERATURE BEFORE 1800

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Emblèmes ou devises chrestiennes. Monumenta Emblematum Christianorum virtutum, tum politicarum, tum œconomicarum chorum, centuria una adumbrantia. Rhythmis Gallicis elegantissimis primum conscripta, figuris æneis incisa, ... a G. Montanea ..., ... et nunc interpretatione metrica Latina, Hispanica, Italica, Germanica, Anglica et Belgica [Booke of armes or remembrance, wherein are one hundered godly Emblemata, in pieces of brasse very fine graven, and adorned pleasant to be seen; First by the Noble and industrious minde Georgettee de Montenay, invented and only in the French tongue elabourated; Bot now, in Latin, Spanish, Italian, High-dutch, English and Low-dutch me´etre, or verse Wys, of the same manner declared and augmented.

de Montenay, Georgette [French author of Emblemes ou devises chrestiennes, published in Lyon between 1567 and 1571. Montenay has always been regarded as a lady-in-waiting to Jeanne d'Albret, the Protestant Queen of Navarre, partly because she dedicated her work to the Queen. An intriguing aspect of Montenay's Calvinist life is that she was married in 1562 to Guyon de Gout, a devout Catholic]. Pierre Woeiriot de Bouzey (1532-1596?) was a French engraver, goldsmith, painter, sculptor and medallist.


(Book #ID 93528)

Imprimes es frays de lean Charles Vnckel Libraire a Francfort au Mayn, 1619. 1619.

Contemporary vellum covers. 8vo. 7¼'' x 4¾''. Contains illustrated title, 447 pp, frontiespiece of Georgette de Montenay (1567) by Pierre Woeiriot. The Prefatory and Back Matter are reproduced from a copy in the Bodleian Library by Alison Adams. Georgette de Montenay's work occupies a particularly important position in the history of emblems: firstly, of course, it was written by a woman, and secondly that woman was a member of the Reformed (Calvinist) faith. Indeed Montenay claims that her book gives us the first Christian emblems ('...je croy estre premier chrestiens'). This claim needs to be taken in the context of Montenay's position among Protestants, who at this period, had undergone some kind of personal conversion, 'Renez par l'Evangile'. Earlier emblematic works are of course also Christian, often very overtly so, if not in quite the same way (e.g. Claude Paradin's Devises heroiques (Lyons:, 1551; 1557). Nevertheless, Montenay's Emblemes mark the beginning of the systematic exploitation of emblems for religious propaganda. It is also the first emblem book to use incised engravings (by Pierre Woeiriot) rather than woodcuts for the picturae. It is distinctive for the way in which it calls on the reader to recognise and often complete biblical allusions, both verbal and visual. This edition of 1619 printed in Frankfurt in which, although French resumes its position beneath the pictura, a second Latin version is added, as well as versions in Spanish, Italian, German, English and Dutch (a different version from that by Anna Roemers Visscher). This edition is found with title pages in all these languages apart from Dutch. Notable is the fact that the same engravings are used in the three editions, so the plates must have been transported first from Lyons to Zurich and subsequently to Frankfurt. The 1567/1571 edition is reissued in La Rochelle, a notable Protestant centre, in 1620. Illustrated title, 100 engraved emblems in text by Pierre Woeriot, most printed recto only, Page 102 does not have the modified version of emblem 18 pasted over the original, showing the phallic symbol. Pages 242-244 and emblem 53 mis-placed after page 248. Emblem 55 to page 250 incorrectly labled as emblem 56, and misplaced after page 256. Front joint exposed. Member of the P.B.F.A.

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