Critical prefaces of the French Renaissance

By Bernard Weinberg | Go to book overview

JACQUES AMYOT DEDICATION AND PREFACE TO PLUTARCH'S Lives 1559

TEXT:

Les Vies des Hommes Illustres Grecs & Romains, Comparees l'vne auec l'autre par Plutarque de Chæronęe, Translatees de Grec en François. A Paris, De l'imprimerie de Michel de Vascosan. M.D.LVIIII. Auec Priuilege du Roy. [Library of Congress.]

[Cf. Brunet, Supplément, II, 258; Van Praet, Catalogue des livres imprimés sur vélin de la Bibliothéque du roi, V, 49-50; Cat. Rothschild, III, No. 2735, giving a complete description o f Amyot's own copy; and my "A False First Edition of Amyot's Plutarch," Modern Language Notes, LXI ( 1946), 454-58.]


COLLATED:

( 1567) Les Vies des Hommes Illvstres, Grecs et Romains, comparees l'une auec l'autre par Plutarque de Chæronee, Translatees premierement de Grec en François par maistre Iaques Amyot lors Abbé de Bellozane, & depuis en ceste troisieme edition reueuës & corrigees en infinis passages par le mesme Translateur, maintenant Abbé de sainct Corneille de Compiegne, Conseiller du Roy, & grand Aumosnier de France, à l'aide de plusieurs exemplaires uieux escripts à la main, & aussi du iugement de quelques personnages excellents en sçauoir. A Paris, Par Vascosan Imprimeur du Roy. M.D.LXVII. Avec privilege. [ Princeton University Library.]

[Cf. Brunet, Supplément, II, 258-59; Cat. Rothschild, No. 1899. The second edition, also published by Vascosan, 1565, and listed by the British Museum, has not been collated. The three editions by Vascosan are the only authentic ones; cf. René Sturel, Jacques Amyot traducteur des Vies parallèles de Plutarque, Paris: Champion, 1908, pp. 94 ff. I have also collated the editions of Lausanne: Le Preux, 1574 ( Harvard), Lausanne: Le Preux, 1575 ( University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University Library, the latter with a 1559 title page), Paris: Jaques du Puys, 1578 ( Pierpont Morgan Library), and Geneva: Jacob Stoer, 1593 ( Harvard); since this collation has yielded only orthographic differences, the results are not given here. To all intents and purposes, Amyot's dedication and preface were never modified after the first edition of 1559.]

As early as 1553, when he was writing the dedication to his translation of Diodorus of Sicily (published in 1554), Amyot announced his intention to compose an essay in praise of history: "je ne veux point pour ceste heure entrer plus avant en ce discours de la louange de l'histoire, le reservant à un autre plus grand et plus excellent œuvre des Vies de Plutarque" (cited by Sturel, op. cit., p. 89). The essay appeared in 1559 with the first edition of the Lives and reappeared with all subsequent editions. The work itself was extremely popular--Sturel lists fifteen separate editions in the six

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