The first posthumous edition of the Essays
Livre des essais . . . Divise en deux parties. Derniere edition augmentee de deux tables.
Lyon: Gabriel La Grange, 1593.
5th Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003652
Two parts in one volume. 8vo (164 x 100 mm). , 829 , [2 blank], 360,  pp. Woodcut vignette to each title, woodcut initials and headpieces, general index at end of part II, bound without final blank. Several mispaginations in part I. Near contemporary vellum, spine lettered in ink, brown-dyed edges (spotting and soiling of vellum, minor wear to corners). Light even browning of text throughout, some spotting and soiling (heavier towards end of part II), old paper repair to lower corner of final 3 leaves with loss of 2 letters of the catchword on final recto, small paper flaw to fore-margin of leaves H8 and I1 in part I not affecting text, first title laid down, printing faint on pp. 277, 280 and 285 (one word strengthened in ink), short clean tears at inner margin of leaves Ee4-5 of part I with old paper backing. Provenance: old ink ownership name partially erased from lower margin of first title, two words of annotations in ink. Very good copy. ----
RARE FIFTH EDITION of the Essays of Montaigne. The books I and II are gathered under the title of Premiere partie and the book III forms the Seconde partie. It contains for the first time an analytical table. This pirated edition is the first to appear after Montaigne's death, two years before the edition given by Marie de Gournay. It is quite rare, no doubt due to the efforts of Abel l'Angelier, printer of the 1588 edition, who tried by all means, including the law, to stop its distribution. Since May 1593, following Montaigne's death on September 13, 1592, Marie de Gournay, his adopted daughter, has been watching over the editorial fortune of the Essays. Like the Parisian printer Abel l'Angelier, to whom Simon Millanges of Bordeaux left his rights, Marie de Gournay could not fail to wonder about the strange address of this unknown printer: Lyon, Pour Gabriel La Grange, Libraire d'Avignon. The pirated edition follows the text of 1588, the last edition during the author's lifetime, increased by a third book. In his haste, the printer omitted some paragraphs. To his credit, he compiled a very useful index, the first for Montaigne's works. In 1595, in spite of the lawsuits initiated by l'Angelier and Gournay, who were preparing a prestigious posthumous folio edition of the Essays, a second counterfeit appeared: it bore again the address of Lyon, useful to protect itself from the restrictions of the Parisian privilege granted to l'Angelier, this time with the address "Pour Francois le Febvre". Nuisance or consecration? Montaigne's works found themselves rejuvenated, coveted, and his printer pushed to compete better.
Literature & references: STC 317; Adams M 1621; Baudrier I, 227; RBF 16 I, 275, 2; Sayce-M. 5; Tchemerzine VIII, 406; R.A. Sayce and David Maskell, A Descriptive Bibliography of Montaigne's Essais, 1580-1700. London, Bibliographical Society, 1983; Michel Simonin, Les contrefacons lyonnaises de Montaigne et Ronsard au temps de la Ligue, p. 139-159, in Les Presses grises. - Visit our website to see more images!
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