Le Dialogue de consolation entre lame et raison: faict & compose par ung religieux de la reformation de lordre de Fontevrault: nouvellement imprime a Paris. François LE ROY.
Le Dialogue de consolation entre lame et raison: faict & compose par ung religieux de la reformation de lordre de Fontevrault: nouvellement imprime a Paris.
Le Dialogue de consolation entre lame et raison: faict & compose par ung religieux de la reformation de lordre de Fontevrault: nouvellement imprime a Paris.
A Western view: the Soul vs. Reason

Le Dialogue de consolation entre lame et raison: faict & compose par ung religieux de la reformation de lordre de Fontevrault: nouvellement imprime a Paris. Paris: [Étienne Caveiller for] Denis Janot, 1537.

8vo (164 x 102 mm). Collation: A-V8. [160] leaves. Bâtarde type, shoulder notes. Title printed in red and black within four-part metalcut border with grotesques and flowering plants, full-page Pentecost metalcut on title verso. Metalcut and woodcut 5-line initials. Foremargins of ff. D2-4 with tear not affecting text, a few other minor marginal defects; title a bit frayed and soiled, some overall darkening. Modern red morocco, gilt edges. Provenance: G. Le Noir, 18th-century signature on title; College Louis le Grand, Paris, 18th-century inkstamp on title; with Librairie Henner, 1983: Guy Bechtel.

A popular devotional work by a monk of the order of Fontevrault, founded in 1100, a “double” monastery, populated by both monks and nuns, who resided in separate convents but were governed by a single authority, who was, most unusually, female: the Abbess of Fontevrault. 

The Dialogue de consolation, one of several devotional works by François Le Roy, belongs to a particular Renaissance genre of religious works for laypeople couched in the form of dialogues, modeled on ancient traditions, commencing with the Book of Job and including Plato, Augustine’s Soliloquies, and Boethius Consolation of Philosophy. These dialogues inspired sixteenth-century writers like Thomas More (Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, ca. 1534) and Marguerite de Navarre (Dialogue en forme de vision nocturne, composed in 1524). Le Roy’s place in this august company is assured by this work, an interior, spiritual dialogue in which the Soul, plagued by temptations and spiritual tribulations, is counseled by Reason, who provides consolation in the form of methods of contemplation and devout meditation. Le Roy interweaves exempla from the Bible, the Church fathers and a few classical authors (Horace) with paraphrases of more recent theologians, particularly Gerson, and his own direct, clear prose.  

The edition was shared between Janot, Pierre Sergent and Arnoul and Charles Langelier (or Les Angeliers). It is printed in the types of Étienne Caveiller, who used his signature metalcut four-part title border and characteristic typographic pointing fingers throughout the text. The Pentecost metalcut, showing the Trinity, Apostles and Saints above the assembled Church and nations below, was already used in the first edition, printed by Philippe Pigouchet for Simon Vostre in 1499, and appears in other Pigouchet imprints. This version appears to be a very close copy of the Pigouchet plate. Other very faithful copies of this popular metalcut were used throughout the sixteenth century by Horae printers and publishers, for both books of hours and other religious works.  

Two copies are held by US libraries: Newberry (this issue) and Houghton (Angelier issue).

Rawles, Denis Janot ... A Bibliography 65; Bechtel L-217; Moreau V, 563; Brunet 2:669 (Sergent issue); Higman L 56. Cf. Alexandre Tarrête, “Remarques sur le genre du dialogue de consolation à la Renaissance,” Réforme, Humanisme, Renaissance 2003 (57), pp. 133-152 (online, on Persée website).

Item #2921

Price: $3,000.00