Critical prefaces of the French Renaissance

By Bernard Weinberg | Go to book overview

JEAN DE LA TAILLE
PROLOGUE TO Les Corrivaux
1573

TEXT:

La Famine, ou les Gabeonites, Tragedie prise de la Bible, & suiuant celle de Saül. Ensemble plusieurs gutres Oeuures poëtiques de Iehan de la Taille de Bondaroy gentilhomme du pays de Beauce, & de feu Iaques de la Taille son Frere, desquels œuures l'ordre se void en la prochaine page. A Paris. Par Federic Morel Imprimeur du Roy. M. D. LXXIIII. Auec Priuilege dudit Seigneur. [Boston Public Library.]

[According to Tchemerzine, VII, 106, "L'édition de 1574 est identique à la précédente (1573); elle ale même titre et est aussi de 173 ff. et (3) ff." On the 1573 ed., see also Cat. Rothschild, V, 3317 (1093a), and Brunet, III, 870, who mentions 1574 as a separate edition.]

One year after the publication of Saül le furieux, Jean de la Taille published his tragedy of La Famine; like the former volume, this one contained other works of the author, and was really the second volume of his complete poetic works. Les Corrivaux was probably written about 1562, when both Jean and Jacques de la Taille were living in Paris and associating with members of the Pléiade group. The "Prologue" may have been written at the time of composition of the comedy, since it addresses the audience in the manner of the Terentian prologues; but it is also possible that it may have been written especially for the publication in 1573. The comedy itself was the only one of this period of the Renaissance written in prose (cf. T. A. Daley, Jean de la Taille, Paris: Gamber, 1934, pp. 182, 198, ⊥n.1). The "Prologue" was reprinted by René de Maulde in his Œuvres de Jean de la Taille (Paris: Willem, 1878-82, II, v-xi), and its theories were summarized by Daley (op. cit., pp. 182-85).


[I] LE PROLOGUE

Il semble, messieurs, à vous voir ainsi assemblez en ce lieu, que vous y soyez venus pour ouir une comedie. Vrayement, vous ne serez point deceus de vostre intention. Une comedie pour certain vous y verrez, non point une farce ny une moralité; car nous ne nous amusons point en chose ne si basse ne si sotte, et qui ne monstre qu'une pure ignorance de nos vieus François. Vous y verrez jouer une comedie faite au patron, à la mode et au pourtrait des anciens Grecs, Latins, et quelques nouveaux Italiens qui premiers que nous ont enrichi le magnifique et ample cabinet de leur langue de ce beau joyau; une comedie, di-je, qui vous agreera plus (si vous estes au tooins admirateurs des choses belles) que toutes (je le diray librement) les farces et moralitez qui furent oncques jouées en France. Aussi avonseepnous grand desir de bannir de ce royaume telles badineries et sottises, qui

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