Les Nouvelles de Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra… Traduictes d’espagnol en françois, les six premières par F. de Rosset, et les autres six par le Sr d’Audiguier. Avec l’histoire de Ruis Dias et de Quixaire, princesse des Moluques, composée par le Sr de Bellan

Paris, chez Nicholas et Jean de La Coste, 1633.

Price available upon request.

8vo. pp. (viii) 695. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut initials head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments. Age yellowing, some minor spotting in places, the odd marginal stain or mark, small worm trail at gutter of a few quires, just touching a few letters. A good, unsophisticated copy in contemporary speckled calf, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, red morocco label gilt lettered, a.e.r.

Rare fourth edition of this most influential and popular first translation into French of the ‘Exemplary Novels’ by Cervantes, with the dedication replaced with an interesting letter to the reader in which it is claimed that the work, in this edition, has been corrected by “quel que homme qui en fust capable”, as previous editions were so full of errors, almost to make the work nonsensical. These novels by Cervantes, alone would have given the author the foremost place among Spanish novelists; the twelve tales in the volume, contain some of the writer’s best work. It is in the ‘Novelas exemplares’ that the chivalric tale of the Middle Ages is transformed into the modern novel, and the whole concept, manner of composition and style was Cervantes’ invention. Cervantes claimed in his foreword to have been the first to write novelas in the Spanish language: “My genius and my inclination prompt me to this kind of writing; the more so as I consider (and with truth) that I am the first who has written novels in the Spanish language, though many have hitherto appeared among us, all of them translated from foreign authors. But these are my own, neither imitated nor stolen from anyone; my genius has engendered them, my pen has brought them forth, and they are growing up in the arms of the press.” “The Exemplary Novels of Cervantes” Translated by Walter K. Kelly.

“Cervantes’s influence on seventeenth-century European prose fiction was unique and exemplary. His writing was a catalyst, perhaps even paradigmatic, in the formation of the republic of letters itself. After publication, his stories were taken up, both within and beyond Spain, with unprecedented rapidity for works of vernacular prose fiction. In his homeland, at least twenty adaptations of his works appeared before 1680, including adaptations of two of the stories from the Novelas ejemplares (1613) by his rival Lope de Vega, as plots for his plays La ilustre fregona (Parte XXIV, 1641) and El mayor imposible (Parte XXV, 1647, based on El celoso extremeño). A French translation of the Novelas ejemplares came out within a year of its publication in Spain, and there were a further eight editions of this translation before 1700. The popularity of Cervantine material in France can be gauged equally from there being no fewer than twenty-three stage adaptations of his work during the same period. In England, the case of John Fletcher typifies how rich a vein writers found in Cervantes’s prose: roughly a quarter of Fletcher’s extant output of just over fifty plays was based on Cervantine prose originals, mostly the Novelas ejemplares.” Alexander Samson “Maybe Exemplary? James Mabbe’s Translation of the ‘Exemplarie Novells’ (1640)”. Cervantes’ works were particularly influential in France in the 1630’s despite the war between the two nations. “Throughout the 1630s, Parisian stages hosted an adaptation of the romancero del Cid and two invented sequels to it, plus several plays based on works by Lope de Vega and on Cervantes’s Novelas ejemplares and Don Quixote. This chronological coincidence of France’s theatrical Hispanophilia and outright war with Spain indicates the complexity of the cultural relationship between the two countries in these years.” Ellen R. Welch ‘Cervantes and the Domestication of Romance in Seventeenth-Century French Theater.’

Vital d’ Audiguier was a novelist and poet who also translated “Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda” and other works by Lope De Vega. His translations were extremely popular and influential, were at the heart of a revival of the novel in France and were also translated into English. “His versions of Cervantes’s Tales (Novelas, 1618) were included by the French Academy among the best specimens of French writing. He was assassinated about 1625, or according to some authorities in 1630” Joseph Thomas “The Universal Dictionary of Biography and Mythology.” Francois de Rosset was equally influential as was also the translator of the first French edition of the second part of Don Quijote. “François de Rosset (1570?-1619) —our first translator of Part II— “docteur es droits et advocat en Parlement,” was quite a familiar figure at the French court during the first couple of decades of the 17th century. Though known today only to specialists in French literature of the period, a count of the editions of his works during his lifetime —well over forty— attests to his popularity as a dabbler in poetry, the theater, a writer of lurid tales, and as a translator.” Anthony Lo Ré. “More on the Sadness of Don Quixote: The First Known Quixote Illustration, Paris, 1618”

Rius. I 888. Palau y Dulcet 53523. Not in BM STC Fr. C17, Brunet or Graesse.


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