The most controversial book associated with the name of Henri Estienne

[Estienne, Henri]. Catharinae Mediceae reginae matris, vitae, actorum, & consiliorum, quibus universum regno Gallici statum turbare conata est, stupenda eaque vera enarratio.

[Geneva, H. Estienne?], 1575.

8vo. 116 (but: 117), (1) SS. 19th century red morocco with richly gilt inner dentelle, leading edges gilt, marbled pastedowns. All edges gilt.


Very rare first Latin edition of this controversial pamphlet, previously published in French as "Discours merveilleux de la vie, actions & deportements de la royne Catharine de Medicis" ("Paris 1563", but in fact printed in the autumn of 1574). This stinging indictment of Catherine de Medici was reprinted several times and also saw a German translation, "Öffentliches Ausschreiben der übelbefriedigten Stände in Frankreich" (i.e., "Public announcement made by the malcontent estates in France"), edited by Johann Fischart.

"The most controversial book associated with the name of Henri Estienne; this notorious biography of Catherine de Médicis, in the form of a violent Huguenot pamphlet against her, has long been attributed to Henri Estienne, although serious doubt has been cast on this attribution" (Schreiber). The anonymous author presents himself as a Catholic who insists the Huguenots should not have been butchered, but rather converted by means of theological argument. "Undoubtedly the writer is a member of the large party of malcontents, many of whom - at least after the massacre - were Catholics, who hoped that all men of national spirit from both persuasions might unite to throw off the cruel yoke of the Queen mother's rule and end the civil wars. Among the many Huguenot pamphlets of the time, this is the one to aim the sharpest arrows at the Queen mother. It contains a vitriolic account of the Queen's life, describing her family and upbringing in the most disparaging terms and revealing all the schemes, misdeeds and crimes committed since the beginning of her rule in 1560 [...] Repeatedly the author points out how she makes use of the precepts of her Florentine compatriot Macchiavelli" (A. Hauffen, Fischart-Studien, in: Euphorion 8 [1901], S. 536f.).

Light browning and very occasional light staining, sumptuously bound in the 19th century.

Adams S 1754. BM-STC French, Suppl. 22. Renouard 143, 8. Schreiber 196.

Stock Code: BN#52478 Tags: ,