Fine large woodcut on title & historiated initials. Gothic type. 142 unnumbered leaves. Small 4to, mid-18th-cent. red morocco (a few leaves with top line just shaved), triple gilt fillet round sides, flat spine gilt "à la grotesque," with the title in gilt running down the spine, narrow gilt inner dentelles, a.e.g. [Paris: Michel Le Noir], ca. 1509. Second edition, extremely rare, of this satirical and moral treatise by Dupin (ca. 1302-74), a native of the Bourbonnais and monk of the Cistercian abbey Notre-Dame at Vaucelles near Cambrai. The first edition appeared as Le Livre de bonne vie, appelé Mandevie (Chambéry: 1485). Of the 1485 edition, there are three known copies, two of which are incomplete. Of our ca. 1509 edition, again there are only three copies in institutions: BnF, BL (incomplete), and LC (the title leaf of the LC copy is somewhat damaged). Dupin wrote this work sometime between 1324 and 1340; written in poetry and prose, it denounces the vices and excesses of different professions, both secular and religious. Thus popes, kings, bishops, and other members of the church are equally criticized as lawyers, shopkeepers, women, gluttons, villains, etc. According to Arthur Dinaux and Aimé Leroy in the Archives historiques et littéraires du Nord de la France (1833, Vol. III, pp. 170-33), Le Champ vertueux... is the first known work in French in which prose and poetry are united. The first part of the book, in seven books of prose, contains the tale of a dream in which the author travels through each level of society, guided by a knight known as Mandevie (a reference to amending or improving one's behavior or life). The second part, in verse, describes the customs of the time. The handsome and large woodcut on the title depicts Christ surrounded by angels. A fine copy from the library of the Duc de La Vallière (his sale Paris, 1783, 1783, lot 2770). With the signature of the Duc's librarian, the Abbé Rive, on free front endpaper: "collatus et integer." Several early ownership inscriptions on blank portion of title. ❧ Brunet, II, 891-92-citing this copy. Goff D . (Inventory #: HillBibl-5262)
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