MACHIAVELLI, Niccolò. Les discours de l\\\'estat de paix et de guerre (with) Le Prince.

Paris, chez Adrien Périer, 1597.


12mo. pp. 719 [v]: A-Z12, Aa-Gg12, Hh2. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut ornament on title, historiated woodcut initials, woodcut and metal-cut head and tail-pieces, separate title page for ‘Le Prince’ with continuous pagination, ’Campden’ in a slightly later hand on title, repeated on pastedown, label of “Rev’d T Scutt” above, modern bookplate on fly. Light age yellowing, title slightly dust soiled. A very good copy in contemporary polished vellum with small yapp edges, holes for ties, covers very slightly soiled.

A charming copy, beautifully printed, of Gohory’s influential translation of Machiavelli’s Discorsi and Principe, first published in this form in 1571. “Much has been written concerning the importance of the ideas of Machiavelli in France during the period of the religious wars. The hatred directed against Italian writer after the massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day was part of the dislike shown against everything Italian in France including the half Italian queen mother Catherine De Medici. The attention paid to Machiavelli’s writings after 1572 is well-known but his importance in France before that date has not been adequately studied. .. The first translation of a work of Machiavelli to be published (in French) was entitled “Le Premier Live des Discours de L’estat de pair et de guerre de Messire Nicolas Machiavegli” (Paris, Denis Janot, 1544). The translator, who did not sign his name, was Jacques Gohory. The translation contains only the first book of the Discorsi’s three books. Gohory had been engaged at the request of the Constable, Anne de Montmoreney, in preparing a new version of Livy’s histories and had turned to Machiavelli for aid in understanding the difficult Latin writer He published his translation of a part of Machiavelli’s work as his own first literary effort. .. Jacques Gohory’s initial efforts in translating Machiavelli were well received, and in 1548 he published the completed translation of the Discorsi. The new edition contains a new preface, at the beginning of the second book. Gohory says that Machiavelli is the equal in many respects of the greatest Latin historians and surpasses them in usefulness for modern readers: without his help to explain the ancient historians one would now be lost, he declares. Gohory .. decided to publish a revised edition of his earlier version, which he did in the same year, 1571. This time he put his name on the title page and in the preface took full responsibility for his previous versions. In the same volume he gave a life of Machiavelli and his own version of the Principe. The translation of the Discorsi which is given in Gohory’s 1571 is changed but little from the 1548 version. There are corrections of misprints, marginal notes are added, and changes are made in spelling to conform to reforms which had taken place in the language since the earlier editions. The 1571 edition is preferable to the previous ones. .. (Gohory’s) translations were largely responsible for the immense vogue of Machiavelli in France. Nowhere else did his works attain greater influence than in that kingdom during the sixteenth century. I seriously doubt if they formed the rules by which the Valois kings governed France, but they stimulated the thinking of many of the intellectuals of the country.” Willis H. Bowen ‘Sixteenth Century French Translations of Machiavelli’. Italica, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Dec., 1950), pp. 313-320.

USTC No. 9656. Adams, M 21. Bertelli Bibliografia Machiavelliana pp. 75 no. 196. Pettegree French Vernacular Books 35783.
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