Perhaps the Most Influential Work in Medieval French literature, in Lovely Lortic Red Morocco


(Paris: Jehan Masse [Jean Macé], 1538). 182 x 91 mm. (6 3/8 x 3 3/4"). 8 p.l., ccciii, [1] (blank) leaves.Edited by Clément Marot. Fourth Edition.

ELEGANT SCARLET MOROCCO BY LORTIC (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers tooled in gilt and blind in a Grolieresque strapwork design, raised bands, spine compartments with central gilt rose surrounded by blind tooling, gilt titling, turn-ins richly gilt, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. With title page vignette and 49 impressions of 26 CHARMING WOODCUTS in the text. Front pastedown with engraved bookplate of P. Grandsire. Brunet III, 1175; Bourdillon, "Early Editions of the Roman de la Rose," the "S" version (pp. 62-63). Leaves lightly washed and pressed, following the bibliophilic fashion at the time of binding, occasional mild browning or small marginal stains, but still A LOVELY COPY, clean and still crisp, IN A SPARKLING BINDING.

Beautifully bound, this is a most attractive copy of the last early edition of this classic of courtly love, perhaps the most influential work in Medieval French literature. An allegorical love poem that unfolds as a dream vision, the "Romance of the Rose" is the work of two authors, Guillaume de Lorris, who composed the first 4,000 or so lines around 1230, and Jean de Meun, who contributed an additional 18,000 lines 40 years later. Our version was edited by the poet Clément Marot (1496-1544), to make the language more accessible to 16th century French readers, and his efforts contributed to a renewed popularity for the tale. Marot did four recensions of the text; this is the final one. After our printing, no other edition appeared until 1735. According to Bourdillon, the woodcuts here are copied from the "very pretty" series in the 1529 edition. The scenes are impressive in the level of detail, especially considering their diminutive size. Pierre Marcellin Lortic (1822-92) was one of the great binders of 19th century Paris, known for his superb interpretations of traditional styles, as in the present binding. According to Flety, "at once artisan and artiste, intelligent and conscientious, an expert and a lover of his metier, he knew how to give his work the finish, the brilliance, that very few practitioners of his time could attain." Our copy comes from the library of French bibliophile Paul Grandsire of Nogenten-Bassigny (Haute-Marne), whose notable collection of French imprints from the 15th to the 18th centuries was sold in 1930. All early versions of the "Romance of the Rose" are sought after, and this is especially true of well-preserved copies of those editions with charming illustrations and in fine bindings favored by discriminating bibliophiles.