AUTHORIAL PRESENTATION COPY

Theotimus, sive De tollendis & expungendis malis libris, iis praecipue, quos vix incolumi fide ac pietate plerique legere queant, Libri Tres, Multa complectentes, quae tum ad mores, tum ad religionem faciant, & lectorem oppido iuuent, cuiuscunque tandem fidei illum nacti erunt: ad Clarissimum virum Petrum Remoniu, Rotomagensis Senatus praesidem primarium

Paris, Ioannem Roigny, 1549.

£3,750

8vo. pp. (xlviii), 283, (v). a⁸, e⁸, i⁸, a-s⁸. Roman and Italic letter, some Greek. Floriated woodcut initials and headpieces, “Ex bibliotheca Iacobi demonthiers supremo Parhis senati Advocati. Ex dono dicti Putherbei” in contemporary hand at foot of title page, Captain Michiels, name stamp on title, manuscript autograph dated 1749 “Medio tutissimus ibis”on rear fly, bookplate, engraved by L. Fruytiers of “I. G. M.” on pastedown with same motto, manuscript note concerning the author on fly in C18th hand, occasional manuscript underlining in red crayon. Light age yellowing, title page a little dusty and spotted. A good copy, crisp and clean in slightly later speckled calf rebacked, corners restored.

Rare first edition of this important work defending the censorship of ungodly books by the Cistercian Monk Gabriel Dupuyherbault, including biting attacks on authors, notably Rabelais, who were thought to threaten public morals. In doing so he made a bitter enemy of Rabelais who castigated him in the prefaces of later editions of his work. “Rabelais’s words concerning this particular species of Anti-Natures children were: Demoniacles Calvins, imposters de Geneve, that is ‘demoniacal Calvins, Genevan imposters.’ Rabelais’s reference to his Catholic detractor immediately follows: les enraigez Putherbs, “the crazy Putherbes” that is, Putherbius, the latin form of DuPuyherbault’s name. In five of the thirty editions the unknown editors contented themselves with simply dropping the reference to Calvin and Geneva, so that redoubled thunder fell upon the monk Gabriel DuPuyherbault: ‘the demoniacal, crazy Puytherbes’. But because these editions included no footnotes and the relation to the monk’s latin name and writings to which Rabelais had perhaps faded by the 1560’s, this slander was probably inconsequential, however unjust. (…) E Droz, in ‘Frere DuPuyherbault’ has shown that whatever DuPuyherbault’s hatred of Rabelais’s religious views and mores, he was by no means crazy but was rather a sincere and tireless proponent of Catholic monastic reforms. DuPuyherbault died in 1566” Sam Kinser ‘Rabelais’ Carnival.”

In fact DuPuyherbault was an important theologian of the Sorbonne. This  treatise, attacking heretical writings and calling for censorship of impious works, was perhaps his most famous work. Most of the authors he considers are classical but he devotes quite large sections to Rabelais. His criticisms of Rabelais did much to cement the popular image of him as a drunkard and philandering atheist. “After such simplistic good and bad judgments came the more serious disrepute of Rabelais in fashionable circles, a disrepute popularized after Rabelais’s death by persiflage in poems like Pierre Ronsard’s comic epitaph depicting the writer wallowing amid spilt wine “like a frog in mud.” Such satire reinforced the rabid attacks of Catholic controversialists like Gabriel DuPuyherbault, who depicted Rabelais as a drunkard and glutton “who does nothing everyday but sniff kitchen odors and imitate the long-tailed monkey.” Kinser, Samuel. ‘Rabelais’s Carnival’.

This copy was given by the author to Jacques de Monthiers, ’le lieutenant général” at the town of Pontois just outside of Paris.

BM STC Fr. C16th. p.145. Not in Brunet.

L1797

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