Critical prefaces of the French Renaissance

By Bernard Weinberg | Go to book overview

JEAN DE LA TAILLE
De l'Art de la Tragédie 1572

TEXT:

Savl le Fvrievx, Tragedie prise de la Bible, Faicte selon l'art & à la mode des vieux Autheurs Tragiques. Plvs, Vne Remonstrance faicte pour le Roy Charles IX. à tous ses subiects, à fin de les encliner à la paix. Avec Hymnes, Cartels, Epitaphes, Anagrammatismes, & autres Oeuures d'vn mesme autheur. A Paris. Par Federic Morel Imprimeur du Roy. M.D. LXXII. Auec Priuilege dudit Seigneur. [B.N., Paris.]

[Cf. Brunet, III, 869; Tchemerzine, VII, 105; Cat. Rothschild, V, 3317 ( 1093a).]

On the basis of internal evidence, it is probable that Jean de la Taille wrote this preface to his Saül le furieux sometime between 1570 and 1572, the date of publication (cf. Frederick West's edition of the text, Manchester, 1939, p. 3). The tragedy itself was apparently complete in manuscript by May of 1562 (cf. A. Werner, Jean de la Taille und sein Saül le furieux, Leipzig, 1908, pp. xx-xxi). Both tragedy and preface were reprinted in 1598, 1601, and 1602. The text of the Art de la Tragédie was edited by Werner in 1908 and by Frederick West in 1939. The reader is referred to the latter edition for a study of the text and for the notes, a few of which have been incorporated into the present edition. Biographical details on Jean de la Taille may be found in T. A. Daley's biography, Jean de la Taille ( 1533- 1608): Etude historique et littéraire ( Paris: Gamber, 1934).


[A ij] DE L'ART DE LA TRAGEDIE A TRÈS HAULTE PRINCESSE HENRIETTE DE CLEVES, DUCHESSE DE NEVERS, JAN DE LA TAILLE DE BONDAROY

Madame. Combien que les piteux desastres advenus nagueres en la Francepar nos guerres civilles fussent si grands, et que la mort du roy Henry, du roy son fils, et du roy de Navarre vostre oncle, avec celle de tant d'autres princes, seigneurs, chevaliers et gentilshommes, fust si pitoiable qu'il ne faudroit jà d'autre chose pour faire des tragedies; ce neantmoins, pour n'en estre du tout le proper subject, et pour ne remuer nos vieilles et nouvelles douleurs, volontiers je m'en deporte, aimant trop mieux descrire le malheur d'autruy que le nostre, qui m'a fait non seulement voir les deux rencheutes de nos folles guerres, mais [A ij v] y combattre et rudement y estre blessé. Je veux sans plus icy vous dedier une tragedie du plus miserable prince qui porta jamais couronne, le premier que jamais Dieu esleut pour

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