MARGUERITE, REINE DE NAVARRE (1492-1549). Marguerites de la Marguerite des Princesses, tres illustre Royne de Navarre. Lyon: Jean de Tournes, 1547.
2 volumes, 8vo (6 ½ x 4 in.; 16.5 x 10.1 cm.). Wood-cut devices on title-pages and on the penultimate page of volume one, 11 woodcuts after Bernard Salomon in volume II including 10 illustrating "La Coche", 6- and 4-line floriated initials, head- and tail-pieces; one or two marginal spots. Fine early 19th-century binding of full red morocco, each cover decorated with borders of triple gilt fillets, the spines gilt decorated in six compartments with five raised bands, gilt lettered in one, the others decorated with fine gilt tools, all edges gilt, silk ties.
PROVENANCE: with an early and faded purchase inscription at the head of the title-page of volume one; with an early ink library stamp: "de Bourdigalle" at the foot of the title-page of volume one, and with the motto: "non est mortale quod opio" (no man is weaker than opium); with the engraved monogrammed book label "E.E.O" on the verso of the first blank of volume one; with the engraved armorial book label with the cypher "A.W." on the front paste-down of each volume; with the engraved armorial red morocco gilt book label of Léopold Double, his sale 1863, on the front paste-down of each volume; the red morocco gilt book label of Maurice-Ernst Quentin-Bauchart on each front paste-down and the red cloth gilt book label of Edouard Rahir on the front paste-down of volume one (see his Bibliothèque, 1907, p. 278).
ONE OF THE LANDMARKS OF FRENCH POETRY AND RENAISSANCE BOOK PRODUCTION. The first collected edition of Marguerite d'Angouleme's poetry, containing many works in their first edition. The volume opens with her notorious 'Miroir de l' âme péchereuse', a devotional poem, in which the soul, portrayed as a yearning woman, calls out to Christ as her father-brother-lover. First published in 1531, and then again in 1533, it was promptly condemned as unorthodox by the Sorbonne theologians for its expression of ideas associated with the religious reform movement. However since the poem and Marguerite had the support from the King, the work was allowed. This edition was published in 1547, the year of Marguerite's brother, Henri I's, death, possibly to pre-empt Henry II's more oppressive religious policies, and before her influence was severely reduced.
Marguerite was the sister of Francis I of France, the wife of Henri II of Navarre, and grandmother to Henri IV of France and became the most influential woman in
France during her lifetime when her brother acceded to the crown. Her salon, known as the "New Parnassus", became famous internationally. She and her work were admired internationally: she is said to have influenced the Protestant Reformation in England through her relationship with Anne Boleyn to whom she may have given the original manuscript of her poem 'Miroir de l'âme pécheresse; and she was a correspondent of many of the great thinkers of the day, including the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus, who wrote to her: "For a long time I have cherished all the many excellent gifts that God bestowed upon you; prudence worthy of a philosopher; chastity; moderation; piety; an invincible strength of soul, and a marvelous contempt for all the vanities of this world. Who could keep from admiring, in a great king's sister, such qualities as these, so rare even among the priests and monks?". Marguerite continued to encourage reform within the church and the need to reinterpret the Scriptures and translate them into French. She herself habitually retired to meditate and pray, and composed numerous works of devotional poetry, including those published here in the "Marguerites de la Marguerite des princesses" (1547).
These beautiful volumes were printed by Jean de Tournes on behalf of Simon Silvius (called de La Haye), secretary to the princess, and one of the most influential of the Lyonnese printers. De Tournes combined Granjon's types with illustrations and ornaments by Bernard Salomon to produce some of the most beautiful books of the French Renaissance. REFERENCES: Tchemerzine VII, pp. 382-383; Cartier I, 105; L. Scheler, "A propos de l'édition originale des Marguerites de la marguerite des princesses," in Bibliothèque de Humanisme et Renaissance 18 (1956), pp. 282-285. # 72lib1064