Critical prefaces of the French Renaissance

By Bernard Weinberg | Go to book overview

ESTIENNE DOLET
La Maniere de Bien Traduire d'Une Langue en Aultre 1540

TEXT:

La Maniere De Bien Tradvire D'vne Langve En Avltre. D'aduantage. De la punctuation de la langue Francoyse. Plus. Des accents d'ycelle. Le tout faict par Estienne Dolet natif d'Orleans. [Undated; printed by Dolet in Lyon, 1540. B.N., Paris.] [Cf. Brunet, II, 795-96.]

After various works written in Latin, Dolet undertook the publication of a long treatise in French, bearing the general title of L'Orateur Françoys. The preface of the volume described above, addressed "au peuple Françoys," contains a prospectus listing the parts of the work as "La grammaire, l'orthographe, les accents, la punctuation, la pronunciation, l'origine d'aulcunes dictions, la maniere de bien traduire d'une langue en aultre, l'art oratoire, l'art poëtique." The Manière, the Accents, and the Pronunciation were included in the 1540 volume, but no more was ever published, although Dolet had promised completion in two or three years (cf. p. 80 below). Dolet was burned at the stake in 1546, and in 1549 Du Bellay regretfully referred to the rest of the work as still unpublished ( Deffence, ed. Chamard, p. 86). There has been a modern reprint of the 1540 volume ( Paris: Techener, 1830) as one of a series of reprints of Dolet's works. On Dolet, see Ph. Aug. Becker, Aus Frankreichs Frührenaissance ( Munich, 1927), pp. 85-118, and Marc Chassaigne, Etienne Dolet ( Paris: Michel, 1930).


[a 2] ESTIENNE DOLET À MONSEIGNEUR DE LANGEIa HUMBLE SALUT ET RECONGNOISSANCE DE SA LIBERALITÉ ENVERS LUY

Je n'ignore pas (seigneur par gloire immortel) que plusieurs ne s'ebaissent grandement de veoir sortir de moy ce present oeuvre, attendu que par le passé j'ay faict et fais encores maintenant profession totalle de la langue Latine. Mais à cecy je donne deux raisons; l'une, que mon affection est telle envers l'honneur de mon païs que je veulx trouver tout moyen de l'illustrer, et ne le puis myeulx faire que de celebrer sa langue comme ont faict Grecs et Rommains la leur. L'aultre raison est que non sans exemple de plusieurs je m'addonne à ceste exercitation.1 Quant aux antiques, tant Grecs que Latins, ilz n'ont prins aultre instrument de leur eloquence que la langue maternelle. De la Grece seront pour tesmoings Demo[a 2 v]sthene, Aristote,

____________________
1
Autheurs antiques illustrateurs de leur langue. Margin 1540
a
Guillaume du Bellay, seigneur de Langey.

-77-

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