Facecieuses paradoxes de Bruscambille, & autres discours Comiques. BRUSCAMBILLE, 1575?-1634?, Nicolas? pseud. of DESLAURIERS.
Facecieuses paradoxes de Bruscambille, & autres discours Comiques.
Facecieuses paradoxes de Bruscambille, & autres discours Comiques.
Facecieuses paradoxes de Bruscambille, & autres discours Comiques.
Facecieuses paradoxes de Bruscambille, & autres discours Comiques.
Wine, women, & gobbledygook: the shifting shapes of humor

Facecieuses paradoxes de Bruscambille, & autres discours Comiques. Rouen: [David Ferrand for] Thomas Maillard, 1615.

[Bound with:] Les Subtiles et facecieuses rencontres de I. B. Disciple du genereux Verboquet, par luy pratiquées pendant son voyage, tant par Mer que par terre. Paris: de l’imprimerie de I. Martin, et de Iean de Bordeaux, 1630.

[And with:] [MARTIN, Louis and Remy BELLEAU]. L’Eschole de Salerne, en suite le Poeme Macaronique, En Vers Burlesques. Paris: chez Antoine de Raffle, [between 1661 & 1696].

[Volume 2:] BRUSCAMBILLE. Les Oeuvres ... contenans ses Fantasies, Imaginations & Paradoxes, & autres discours Comique [sic]. Rouen: Martin de La Motte, 1635.

4 works in 2 volumes, 12mo (137 x 74 mm). [16], 77, [3] leaves; 71 pp.; 83 pp.; 488, [4] pp. Woodcut initials, woodcut and typographic head- and tail-pieces. Some foxing, occasional browning, a few headlines in l’Eschole shaved, Oeuvres with paper flaw in sheet A and last two leaves (table of contents) soiled and frayed at foot. Uniformly bound in 18th-century calf, spines gold-tooled with dense leafy sprays, red and black morocco gilt lettering-pieces (Oeuvres de Bruscam / Tom. I [-II]), board edges gold-tooled, red edges, marbled endpapers (extremities rubbed, joints split). Provenance: traces of removed bookplates; Martine de Béhague, comtesse de Béarn, by descent to her nephew Hubert de Ganay, and thence to his sons, the counts of Ganay.***

A rare quartet of French silliness, comprising most of the farcical discourses of the comic actor known as Bruscambille, the stage name of Nicolas Deslauriers (or possibly Jean Gracieux), with a joke book and a French rhymed version of the most popular medieval guide to health and diet, the Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum.

1) Facecieuses paradoxes de Bruscambille: First Edition of the fourth collection of Bruscambille’s so-called prologues or harangues. These were witty speeches delivered before the curtain rose on comedies at the Hotel de Bourgogne, shared by the Comédiens ordinaires du Roy with the Italian commedia group the Gelosi. “Delivered by the acteur, known as an harangueur, while the audience assembled for the performance, their function was to keep the public entertained and relatively peaceful while the octher actors were setting the stage. Audiences at this time came from widely different social and educational backgrounds. As a result, theaters were rowdy, often violent places” (Tomarken, p. 199). Little is known of Bruscambille, but his amphigoric riffs were as popular in print as on the stage. Often couched in a pseudo-elevated prose, including Latin or Latinesque phrases, Bruscambille’s uncategorizable speeches were filled with alliterations, free associations, double entendres, and many nonsense phrases, and above all freely peppered with scatalogical and sexual jokes. Various combinations of these pieces appeared in over forty editions between 1609 and 1635. Passages were re-used and titles were changed to market old wine in new bottles. Appropriately, frequent allusions to wine and food (or gluttony), guaranteed a constant appetite from the public.

This edition contains discourses nominally in favor of nipples, chicanery, fashion, winter, spit, prison, the number three, the number four, the comédie du monde (sorely missed in the summer of 2020), and the bottle. A prefatory ode from the “printer to the author” and a sonnet from the printer to himself are both signed D. Ferrant. David II Ferrand was received as master printer in 1615; he presumably printed the edition for the bookseller Thomas Maillard.

OCLC and Mercier record copies at the British Library, BnF, Arsenal, Bibliothèque Mazarine, and Princeton.

Gay-Lemonnyer, Bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs à l'amour, aux femmes, au mariage... quatrième édition II: 215; Mercier, La littérature facétieuse sous Louis XIII 259; Simon, Bibliotheca Gastronomica 260; Cioranescu, Bibliographie de la littérature française du dix-septième siècle 16898; Brunet, Manuel du libraire et de l'amateur de livres, 5ème édition I:1303; Tchemerzine-Scheler, Bibliographie d'éditions originales et rares d’auteurs français... II:145; Violet-Le-Duc, Bibliothèque poétique (1847) 158.II:139 b. Cf. A. Tomarken, “'Un Voyage en ce pais la': Bruscambille's Journey to the Heavens (and Back),” Court and Humour in the French Renaissance: Essays in Honour of Professor Pauline Smith (2009), pp 199-216.

2) Subtiles et facecieuses rencontres de I. B.: First Edition of an anonymous collection of mostly salacious (and to the modern reader often rather feeble) jokes and short comic tales. Supposedly by “Verboquet’s” disciple, the book, though a separate work, was printed with and is usually bound with the Les Délices, ou Discours joyeux et récréatifs de Verboquet (first edition Rouen 1623), although it is probably by a different author. Commenting on the differing comic sensibilities of different epochs, Mercier notes correctly that this aphoristic joke book is “nonetheless worth studying for the light it can shed on the history of social attitudes” (histoire des mentalités).

I locate no copies in the US. OCLC cites the British Library, BnF, and BM Lyon; Mercier adds Bib. Mazarine. Gay-Lemonnyer III:1154; Mercier 760; cf. Brunet V:1129; cf Paul Lacroix, Enigmes et découvertes bibliographiques, pp. 271 & 273-4).

3) Eschole de Salerne: A popular poem in 10 octosyllabic chants, each on an aspect of health, adapted from the Regimen sanitatis Salernitatum, and including portions of the Latin text. This light-hearted not-quite-parody by the physician Louis Martin (named in the privilege of the 1647 first edition), contains as much genuinely useful medical information as its model, mostly relating to diet, which helps explain its popularity. It is followed by a “burlesque” (though not particularly macaronic) French translation of the Dictamen metrificum de bello Huguenotico by Remy Belleau, also in octosyllables. Antoine de Rafflé was active as a master printer from 1661 until his death in 1696. OCLC locates US copies of this edition at Cornell, U. Chicago, Duke, and NLM (the latter with an added frontispiece, not part of the edition). Vicaire, Bibliographie gastronomique, col. 337, one of two issues with this imprint.

4) Oeuvres de Bruscambille: Various collections of Bruscambille’s pieces were published from 1619 under the title Oeuvres, with differing contents. This 1635 edition is one of the more complete collections, containing most of the Fantaisies (first edition 1612), and other prologues, discours, and “imaginations,” including Les Bonnes moeurs des femmes, a salacious piece that was suppressed from some editions. OCLC records one US location (Berkeley). Mercier, 471 Tchemerzine II:145; Violet-Le-Duc, Bibliothèque poétique 158.
Item #4057i

Price: $2,800.00