[BOUGOUYNC, Symon]. Lespinette du jeune prince Conquerant le royaulme de bonne renommee. Paris: nouvellement imprime [by Michel Le Noir] for Jehan Petit, 31 October 1514.
2º (274 x 192mm). Gothic type in double column. Title with large woodcut on recto and verso, 50 woodcuts in text, woodcut initials, device of Jehan Petit on final verso. (Small repairs to final leaf affecting one ? letter.) Red morocco janseniste by Chambolle-Duru, spine lettered in gilt, turn-ins with gilt rolls and fillets (light rubbing to bands and corners). Provenance: Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919; booklabel) – [Bernard Quaritch, collation note dated 1918 at rear] – Sylvain S. Brunschwig (morocco label; cat. Geneva, 1955, no. 342).
SECOND AND LAST EDITION OF THE L'ESPINETTE DU JEUNE PRINCE. VERY RARE: ONE OF THE MAJOR WORKS OF ILLUSTRATED VERNACULAR FRENCH POETRY OF THE 16TH CENTURY. THE FAIRFAX MURRAY-BRUNSCHWIG COPY.
Among the many allegorical epics in verse and prose that belong to the genre of 'quest' literature, this work of c. 20.000 lines is one of the major works of illustrated vernacular French poetry of the 16th century. The author is named in a 14-line acrostic at the end: Simon Bougouync (more commonly known in literary history as Symon Bourgouyn or Bourgouin). Bougouync is known for translating Petrarch's Trionfi into French verse for the first time, and for translating texts by Plutarch and Lucian. He also composed original poems and plays. He has been repeatedly referred to as having been the valet de chambre of Louis XII, as was stated in a 1530 edition of his works, but closer study of the records reveal that he had a 'proper' literary career working with Antoine Vérard's Parisian publishing house, where the first edition of the present text was printed in 1508. Focusing on the moral and spiritual education of a young prince in the form of rhymed dialogues in decasyllabic verse, it depicts the prince's adventures as he proceeds through a series of battles mixed with concerted efforts to conquer the castle of virtue and, finally, the kingdom of good reputation. The text offers an enchanting backdrop for a wide variety of everyday situations which reveal social manners and the moral atmosphere of the early 16th century. The work is profusely illustrated with a cycle of 50 interesting woodcuts (not counting the title woodcut and the printer's device). Some originate from Michel le Noir's stock and had been used previously, but the majority seem to have been executed for this edition as they illustrate the text specifically. The title-woodcut of a mounted knight and his entourage was later used for Jean Trepperel's edition of Huon de Bordeaux.
Davies, Fairfax Murray French 62 (this copy); USTC no. 79158; Peach/Goujet no. 86; James P. Carley and Myra D. Orth, '''Plus assez'': Simon Bourgouyn and his French Translations from Plutarch, Petrarch and Lucian', in: Viator 34/2003, pp. 328-363.