BOUCHET, Jean Les triu[m]phes de la noble et amoureuse Dame et l'art de honnestement aymer

Paris, en la gallerie pro ou on va a la chancellerie par Jehan Longis, 1537


8vo. ff. [xii], cccxc. Lettre Bâtarde. Woodcut initials in various sizes, engraved armorial bookplate of the Baron de Bellet on pastedown, that of Dr. Andre Van Bastelaer beneath, note in French recording purchase of the vol. in the Beckford-Hamilton sale, lot 78, 1883 -250”, on pastedown. Light age yellowing, t-p slightly dusty, tips of outer corners expertly repaired. A very good copy, crisp and clean and wide-margined, (some lower margins uncut) finely bound by Churton in early C19th diced russia, covers with border of double gilt rules, corners with small gilt fleurons, spine with raised bands finely gilt ruled in compartments, gilt fleuron at center, title and date gilt lettered in Batarde, inner dentelles and edges gilt, a.e.g., spine a little faded.

Rare and beautifully printed edition of the most successful work of the ‘Rhetoriqueur’ poet Jean Bouchet, first published in 1530, a mystical romance in prose and verse on divine love, in which the ‘amoureuse dame’ represents the human soul. Bouchet, 1476-c.1550 was a prolific author of great intelligence and imagination. He acquired fame at the court of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany, had a successful career as a lawyer, was tutor to the Prince de Talmont and became centre of the literary circle in his native Poitiers. He was one of the few poets of his era to live off his writing, without patronage, and thus had great control over the printing of his own works. “in this respect, despite his relative conservatism as a poet, Bouchet anticipates the more apparently personal and less overtly formalist poetics of the mid and late sixteenth century.” Adrian Armstrong ‘Script, Print, and Poetics in France, 1470-1550’. Among his friends was François Rabelais who addressed to Bouchet his first verses in French.This Parisian edition seems to have been shared by Jean Longis and Jean Macé. “Brunet mentions that ‘ces triomphes sont un ouvrage mystique, en vers et en prose, où il s’agit de l’amour de Dieu: L’amoureuse dame est notre âme. On le voit donc, il n’y a là rien de bien érotique’. However, he omits to state that much of the matter is of more human interest than may be at first supposed. There are chapters on matrimonial conduct, the bringing up of children, (“Comment mary et femme doivent converser en leur lict de mariage; instruction pour les femmes grosses; comment les meres doyuent nourrir leurs enfans en enfance” etc). Choice of foods, Anatomy of the human body etc.” Fairfax Murray I 60, the 1541 edition.“In this guide for proper moral and social conduct are found many advices addressed to women…. the work also contains dietetic advice for a healthy life and an extensive chapter on anatomy, in which are also described the reproductive organs”. Erdman, My Gracious Silence 57 (later edition).

William Thomas Beckford (1760–1844) extraordinarily wealthy English novelist, art critic, travel writer and politician, now chiefly remembered as the author of the Gothic novel Vathek and builder of the remarkable Fonthill Abbey, the enormous gothic revival country house, largely destroyed. Beckford’s fame rests as much upon his eccentric extravagances as a builder and collector as upon his literary efforts. The opportunity to purchase the complete library of Edward Gibbon gave Beckford the basis for his own library, which was extensive, and dispersed over two years in 1883-4.

BM STC Fr. C16th p. (Macé edition). IA. 122.891. Brunet (Macé edition). Erdman, My Gracious Silence 57 (later edn.). Fairfax Murray I 60, the 1541 edition.
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