[BOUCHET, Jean (1476-c. 1557).] Sensuyt le labyrinth de fortune & sejour des troys nobles dames compose par lacteur des regnars traversans et loups ravisans. Surnomme le traverseur des voyes perilleuses. Paris: Alain Lotrian [c.1528].
4º (186 x 128mm). Title printed in red and black and with half-page woodcut, large woodcut device on verso of last leaf. (Some mostly marginal worming throughout, mostly marginal worm tracks repaired throughout occasionally affecting a few letters.) Light brown morocco by Koehler, spine gilt in compartments and lettered directly in gilt, sides with gilt French fillet border, gilt turn-ins, gilt edges. Provenance: deleted title inscription – ‘Serrant’ (armorial stamp in the title margin and first fly eaf) – Ambroise Firmin-Didot (label printed in black; Drouot, 6-15 June 1878, lot 199).
EXCEEDINGLY RARE THIRD EDITION, WITH JUST TWO RECORDED COPIES, OF THIS MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TO FRENCH ALLEGORICAL LITERATURE: BOUCHET'S CONSIDERATION OF FORTUNE'S IMPACT ON LIFE'S TWISTS AND TURNS.
This treatise on the vicissitudes of the human condition was composed around 1522 in Poitiers, and first printed by the author's brother Jacques for Enguilbert de Marnef. Jean Bouchet was moved to write Le labyrinth de fortune by his increasing concern at the spread of magic, astrology and divination, and the proliferation in society of misguided ideas about fortune and divine providence. Bouchet, a lawyer by profession, was a prolific and popular author who combined considerable intelligence, extensive learning and a rich imagination. His works are important documents of the social, religious, political and literary world of the early 16th century. Bouchet dedicates the poem to the queen-poet Marguerite de Valois-Angoulême, duchess of Berry and of Alençon and sister of François I. Curiously the editor of the present edition, Alain Lotrian, did not correct Marguerite’s titles in the dedication, which still reads ‘duchesse de Berry et d'Alençon’, even though in 1526 she had married Henri D’Albert, King of Navarre, following the death of her first husband, Charles, duke of Alençon, at the battle of Pavia in 1525.
Tchemerzine II, p. 33; USTC no. 73133 (suggesting a date of 1528 for this edition) lists only two copies in public libraries (BnF and Grenoble); Moreau 3, no. 1380; Bechtel B-313.