Le Parangon des nouvelles honnestes utiles et delectables. Lyons: François Juste, 1533.
Long 8° (140 x 63mm). Woodcut architectural title border incorporating printer's initials, 29 small woodcuts flanked by columns, and black-on-white woodcut initials. (Small hole in f.38, probably a paper flaw, affecting a few letters, very faintly browned.) 19th-century red morocco gilt by Trautz-Bauzonnet, green morocco doublures elaborately gilt, marbled and gilt edges, pale blue chemise with green morocco spine label. Provenance: Edward Vernon Utterson (?1776-1856, booklabel, sale Sotheby's, 19 April 1852, lot 1257, £3.2.6 to Techener) -- Felix Solar (1811-1870, sale Paris, 29 November 1860, lot 1991, 1105FFr, described as 'délicieux exemplaire') -- Max. Lud. de Clinchamp (red leather booklabel) -- Raoul-Léonor, comte de Lignerolles (1816-93, pencilled ascription, sale 1894/5, lot 1874, 960FFr) -- Nicolas Rauch (catalogue II, 1949, no. 41).
VERY FINE, APPARENTLY UNIQUE, COPY OF THE THIRD EDITION OF THE PARANGON DES NOUVELLES, MODELLED LARGELY ON BOCCACCIO’S DECAMERON. THE UTTERSON-SOLAR-CLINCHAMPS-LIGNEROLLES COPY.
The nouvelle as a literary form was introduced into France by the Les Cent Nouvelles nouvelles (c.1460), but aside from the shared characteristics of the genre, the Parangon depends more on Italian-German than on French sources for its inspiration. It is a short story which purports to be true and to relate recent events (hence 'nouvelle'), to be detailed in its description and compelling in its narrative. Of the 47 stories contained in the Parangon, 15 derive from Boccaccio, 20 from Poggio, and 7 from Valla; 5 are adaptations from chapters of Til Eulenspiegel, and constitute the first translations in French of that work. The 1531 and 1532 editions of the Parangon were accompanied by Petrarca's Paroles joyeuses, emphasizing its ties with Italian humanist literature.
Its popularity and small size dictated the low survival rate of all editions, and the present copy appears to be unique. The 1852 Sotheby's catalogue cites a Stanley copy, but the Utterson-Solar-Clinchamp-Lignerolles copy is the only one of Juste's 1533 edition cited by standard bibliographies. No copy is in NUC, the BnF or the British Library, and the 1979 reprint even doubts the existence of the present copy (cf. Gabriel A. Pérouse, ed. Paris-Geneva: 1979).
Brunet IV, 364-65 (citing this copy as 'un somptueux exemplaire' of 'un livret fort rare'); Bechtel P-16; Bibliographie des livres imprimé à Lyon an Seizième Siècle, IV, P.203, no. 13.