Item #11532 Ein schöne warhaftige Hystory von Keiser Karolus sun genant Loher oder Lotarius. Gräfin von Nassau-Saarbrücken Elisabeth.
Ein schöne warhaftige Hystory von Keiser Karolus sun genant Loher oder Lotarius.
Ein schöne warhaftige Hystory von Keiser Karolus sun genant Loher oder Lotarius.
Ein schöne warhaftige Hystory von Keiser Karolus sun genant Loher oder Lotarius.
“THE FIRST SECULAR WOMAN WRITER IN GERMANY & A FRUITFUL PIONEER OF THE NEW PROSE NOVEL” — LIEPE

Ein schöne warhaftige Hystory von Keiser Karolus sun genant Loher oder Lotarius.

Strassburg, J. Grüninger 1514.

Folio (257 x 184 mm.). CXXVI [r. 124] leaves. Gothic type, double-column, three series of woodcut initials and SIXTY-TWO TEXT WOODCUTS —FOUR NEARLY FULL-PAGE, EIGHT SMALLER AND FIFTY COMBINED IN PAIRS to make twenty-five half-page illustrations (some blocks repeated).

Late 18th-century blind-tooled marbled sheep (tips restored, joints cracked), gilt-lettered spine label (rebacked preserving much of the original spine, base chipped), edges sprinkled blue.

            “THE MOST IMPORTANT REPRESENTATIVE OF HER SEX IN FIFTEENTH-CENTURY GERMAN LITERATURE…HER NOVELS CONTRIBUTED TO THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE LATE MIDDLE AGES INTO THE EARLY MODERN AGE IN GERMANY” (Classen).
           First Edition, the earliest German prose version of medieval French verse epic. The 14th-century historical romance of Loher and his life-friend Maller belongs to a four-part cycle revolving around the Carolingian court. The bilingual countess of Nassau-Saarbrücken (c. 1395-1456) translated and adapted the tales for German readers. Her contribution to Western literature inaugurated “a long-lasting narrative tradition…the new form of the courtly novel” (Cramer, tr.).
           THREE GENERATIONS OF WOMEN SECURED THE FAME THIS ROMANCE OF CHIVALRY. In 1405, Elisabeth’s mother, Margaret of Lorraine (d. 1416) obtained a copy of the lost Latin original and translated it, or had it translated, into French verse. By 1437, Elisabeth had completed her translation from French verse into German prose. In 1449, her daughter, Margaret of Rodemachern (1426-90), who inherited her mother’s books and collected herself, commissioned a shortened version of the text — that printed here. All six surviving manuscripts of Loher appear connected to the Saarbrücken court, including one leaf in French discovered in 1988 at Wiesbaden and possibly related to Elisabeth’s mother.
         TO MAXIMIZE SALES, GRÜNINGER CLEANSED THE TEXT OF THE FREQUENT REFERENCES TO PHYSICAL INTIMACY BETWEEN THE TWO MALE PROTAGONISTS, an aspect of medieval chivalry uncomfortable for his readers.
         NO ANTIQUARIAN PRINTING IS HELD BY A NORTH AMERICAN LIBRARY. Of this first edition, the only example outside German-speaking lands is at the British Library. In good condition (a half-dozen leaves with ink spots, scattered light soiling, four leaves somewhat browned), from the library of Otto Schäfer (1919-2009), the great collector of early illustrated books, who purchased this copy in 1986.
¶Liepe, Elisabeth von Nassau-Saarbrücken: Entstehung und Anfänge des Prosaromans in Deutschland passim; Classen, “Elisabeth von Nassau-Saarbrucken” in Dictionary of Literary Biography 179: 42-7; Cramer, Geschichte der deutschen Literatur im späten Mittelalter 32 & 70-71; Gotzkowsky, “Volksbücher” Prosaromane, Renaissancenovellen, Versdichtungen und Schwankbücher Bibliographie I: B.6.1; Goedeke, Grundrisz zur Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung I: 357,19; Zwischen Deutschland und Frankreich: Elisabeth von Lothringen, Gräfin von Nassau-Saarbrücken edd. Haubrichs & Herrmann passim; VD 16 S 3414.

Item #11532

Price: $45,000.00