Florent et Lyon enfans de lempereur de romme. Paris: [?Nicolas Chrestien, ?for Jean Bonfons, c.1550].
4° (184 x 129mm). Collation: A8 B-H4 I6. 42 leaves. Type: 80B. 39 lines, double column, 'Flo. & Ly.' on A3 and on first leaf of other quires. Full-page woodcuts on title and title verso, 32 smaller woodcuts, including repeats. (Discreet repairs at extreme edge of two leaves, short neat slit in final leaf.) Red morocco janseniste with elaborately tooled red morocco doublure, gilt edges, by Capé, green cloth slipcase. Provenance: Baron Léopold Double (red leather bookplate) -- Ambroise Firmin Didot (booklabel; sale 1878, lot 607) -- [Eduoard Rahir (not in his 1930-37 catalogues)] -- Dr. Otto-Schäfer-Stiftung, e.V. (OS monogram stamp).
UNIQUE COPY of a chanson de geste. It tells the story of the wife of Emperor Octavian, who is cast out with her sons Florent and Lyon by her husband, owing to a deception engineered by her mother-in-law. Mother and sons encounter one adventure after another and eventually Florent becomes King of England and Lyon marries Rosamonde, the daughter of the King of Spain. Emperor Octavian realises the deception and is happily reunited with his wife and sons.
The anonymous epic poem of Florent and Lyon survives in a handful of French 16th-century editions, all printed at Lyons or Paris, and almost all known in a single copy. Only three editions are dated: 1500 (Lyons: M. Havard), 1526 (Lyons: O. Arnoullet), 1532 (Lyons: O. Arnoullet). Of the undated editions printed at Paris, one is signed Jean Bonfons, one Nicolas Bonfons, and two only 'la rue neufve nostre Dame a lenseigne de lescu de France'. Brunet (Suppl. I, 506) assigns one of these to Lotrian c.1540 and the present edition (Suppl. II, 1025) to N. Chrestien, son-in-law of Jean Bonfons, who was active at this address from 1547 to 1557 and whose type material is used here. The woodcuts belong to a series cut for the text, together with blocks from 15th-century works. Cf. Xenja von Ertzdorff, Florent et Lyon, Wilhelm Salzmann, Internationale Forschungen zur allgemeinen und vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft, no. 4, pp. 351-353.