Lot 214
  • 214

Dupin, Jean

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Le Livre de Mandevie. France, early 15th century

Manuscript on vellum. Small folio (10¼ x 7½ in.; 260 x 190 mm.). Written in a French bâtarde script, in dark brown ink. 33-37 lines. collation: 1-412, 58, 6-912, 108-1 = 111 ff. ; of 112, the last leaf of the last quire, a part of the Table, is lacking, slight discoloration of the first page, some spotting.  Initials, paragraph marks, chapter number in red, headline and footlines on nearly every page in large formal gothic script, some with calligraphic extensions, capitals highlighted in yellow, a few pen-and-ink borders decorated in red and yellow. 19th-century English diced calf, gold-tooled borders and back.


Robert Lang (1750-1828; his sale, 1828) -- Sir Thomas Phillipps (ms. 3639) -- Martin Schøyen (bookplate)


L. Lindgren, ed. Les mélancolies de Jean Dupin, édition critique [of Book 8 only] (1965); see Charles Langlois, "Jehan Dupin", Revue Politique et Littéraire (27 June 1908), p. 805; L. Karl, "Un moraliste bourbonnais du XIVe siècle", extract from the Bulletin de la Sociéte d'Emulation du Bourbonnais (1912), p. 58; P. Paris, Mss. français de la Bibliothèque du Roi, IV, 179-184; Bossuat, Manuel 5446

Catalogue Note

Mandevie, often called Le Roman de Mandevie or Les mélancolies, is a vivid "Rabelaisian" satire on French society of the 14th century, begun in 1324 and completed in 1340. The author (1302-1374), of whom nothing is known, is thought to have been the abbot of Cluny in 1369. The work was extremely popular and sixteen manuscripts (apart from the present) are extant, including eleven in Paris. It was also printed in Chambéry in 1489, and in Paris ca. 1509.  There is no modern edition, of the main work (a critical edition of the "eighth book" appeared in 1965), and there is no manuscript of the work in America.

Of the sixteen manuscripts known, nine include an eighth book, which is often described as a verse summary of the preceding work. According to Langlois, the eighth book is really another work on the same subject, a satiric review of the various estates of society, and could easily be excluded in this manuscript tradition without affecting the completeness of the main work. According to P. Paris, "The satirical character of the entire work, and the fertile and witty imagination of Jean Dupin distinguish the ... Livre de Mandevie from all the other ascetic works of the 14th century. Those who wish to study the actual manners and customs of that period will find in reading this entirely original work a mass of valuable factual information. Books I-VII, despite a good deal of hodgepodge, seem to be considerably better than the final poem."