THE ADVENTURES OF GARGANTUA AND PANTAGRUEL IN EARLY EDITION

Les oevvres. Derniere edition de nouueau reueue & corrigee.

Antwerp, Jean Fuet, 1605-8.

£3,750

12mo., pp. 347 (vii), 469, (ix), 166 (xxxii), some pp. mis-numbered, lacking final blank. Roman letter, some Italic. Both titles with small typographical ornaments (separate title page to volume V), full-page woodcut of the Bottle, woodcut head and tail pieces and initials, early owner’s autograph ‘M Burns’ at foot of title page. Light age yellowing, small tear to upper outer corner of title page just touching one letter, cut close at fore-margin just touching the text block on a few pages in the first volume and on one page in the second. A good copy in contemporary English speckled calf over boards, covers bordered with a double gilt rule, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, gilt lettered morocco labels, all edges red.

The second or the third (or possibly even fourth) editions of the works of Rabelais which purport to have been printed at Antwerp by Jean Fuet. There are doubts, however, as to its true origin. Neither Belgica Typographica, nor BM. STC. Dutch, nor Peeters-Fontainas records anyone by the name of Fuet based at Antwerp. The BM. Catalogue of Books from the Low Countries 1601-21 suggests the work was printed in France, and Brunet states that the location is believed to have been Rouen.

The name of one Rouen printer, Raphaël du Petit-Val, is tentatively provided by Rawles and Screech for another edition published in 1613, and this is perhaps one possibility for our edition too. But Rawles and Screech do not themselves suggest a French provenance for this and the other two (or three) editions said to be printed by Jean Fuet, so the question must remain open. Many early editions of the various parts of Rabelais’ works do not state the printer or place of publication, or in a few cases give false information, owing to the ribald and in places anti-clerical subject-matter, which exposed his works to censorship: they had, for example, been on the papal Index since at least 1559.

“With an immense erudition, representing almost the whole knowledge of his time, with an untiring faculty of invention, with the judgement of a philosopher and the common sense of a man of the world, with an observation which let no characteristic of the time pass unobserved and with a ten-fold portion of the special Gallic gift of good-humoured satire, Rabelais united a height of speculation and depth of insight and vein of poetical imagination rarely found in any writer… his work is the mirror of the C16th in France, reflecting at once its comeliness and its uncomeliness, its high aspirations, its voluptuous tastes, its political and religious dimensions, its keen criticism, its eager appetite and hasty digestions of learning, its gleans of poetry and its ferocity of manners.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 13th Ed. The Pléiade, Marot, Montaigne and Amadis were all indebted to him. A handsome copy with early British provenance.

BM. STC. Fr. C17th R-56. Rawles & Screech 83. Tchemerzine V 315. Brunet Suppl. Pt. II 368. Simon Bibl. Bacc. 555 (another ed.).

L1848

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