Critical prefaces of the French Renaissance

By Bernard Weinberg | Go to book overview

LAZARE DE BAÏF
PREFACE AND PROLOGUE TO SOPHOCLES' Electra 1537

TEXT:

[For the Preface:]

Tragedie de Sophocles intitvlee Electra, contenant la vengence de l'inhvmaine & trespiteuse mort d'Agamemnon Roy de Mycenes la grand, faicte par sa femme Clytemnestra, & son adultere Egistus. Ladicte Tragedie traduicte du grec dudit Sophocles en rythme Francoyse, ligne pour ligne, & vers pour vers: en faueur & commodite des amateurs de lune & lautre langue. Imprimee a Paris pour Estienne Roffet demourant sur le pont Sainct Michel a lenseigne de la Rose. 1537. Auec Priuilege. [B.N., Paris.]

[For the Prologue:]

MS Marciana Français XXIV (No. 235), fol. 1.


COLLATED:

[For the Preface:] MS Marciana Français XXIV (No. 235), fol. 44 verso. [Cf. Brunet, V, 452-53 and Supplément, II, 670; Tchemerzine, I, 344; also listed by British Museum.]

Baïf's translation of Sophocles' Electra, published in 1537, was preceded by a short "Diffinition de Tragedie." The manuscript of the same work at the Biblioteca di San Marco in Venice contained a slightly shorter version of this "Diffinition" after the translation, and was prefaced by a "Prologue" in the form of a dedicatory epistle. René Sturel, in his "Essai sur les traductions du théâtre grec en français avant 1550" ( Revue d'histoire littéraire de la France, XX [ 1913], 273-80), maintained that this manuscript was anterior to the printed version and thought that it may have been written before 1530. I give the text of the "Diffinition" from the 1537 edition and of the Prologue from the Venice manuscript. Details on Baïf's life may be found in Lucien Pinvert's Lazare de Baïf (1496?-1550), ( Paris: Fontemoing, 1900).


[Aij] DIFFINITION DE TRAGEDIE1

Tragedie est une moralité composée des grandes calamitez, meurtres et adversitez survenues aux nobles et excellentz personnaiges, comme Ajas, qui se occist pour avoir esté frustré des armes d'Achilles; Oedipus, qui se creva les yeulx après qu'il luy fut declairé comme il avoit eu des enfans de sa propre mere après avoir tué son pere; et plusieurs aultres semblables.2

____________________
1
Que cest que Tragedie. Venice M S
2
Et tout plain daultres. M S

-73-

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