Item #11643 Tyr Et Sidon Tragicomedie Diuisee en deux iournees. Jean de Schélandre.
Tyr Et Sidon Tragicomedie Diuisee en deux iournees.
THE ROMANTIC ATMOSPHERE IN FRENCH DRAMA

Tyr Et Sidon Tragicomedie Diuisee en deux iournees.

Paris, Robert III Estienne 1628.

8vo (163 x 109 mm.). Frontis., [xxxiix], 249 [r. 224]p. and TWELVE PAGES OF CANCELLANTIA (see below). Italic type (actors’ names and prelims. in roman), woodcut headpieces, engraved allegorical architectural title.

Contemporary vellum over flexible paper boards (soiled; two blank leaves of wove paper inserted at the front and back), flat spine, early manuscript title on the front cover (faded) and on the book block bottom edge.

First Edition of Schélandre’s dramatic piece, composed of two plays to be staged sequentially — each in five acts, each set in the Middle East and each to be performed in one journée (literally one day). Lancaster calls them “A DISTINCT CONTRIBUTION TO THE DRAMA OF HIS TIME”.
            Entirely new, the first journée presents the illicit love of Léonte, Prince of Tyre. Captured by Sidon in war but allowed certain freedoms at the court of his enemy, he beds Philoline, a young wife whose elderly husband has Léonte murdered in revenge. Meanwhile Belcar, Prince of Sidon, taken prisoner by the King of Tyre, has engendered the love of the Princesses of Tyre, Cassandre and Méliane. Belcar reciprocates the affections of the latter.
            When originally published in 1608, the second journée had no comic element and a bloody ending in which the heroine, Méliane is burned to death, her sister dies from suicide and their father is assassinated. Here the play is rewritten to introduce comedy, a great deal indecency (thanks to a male page dressed as a courtesan) and a happy ending: Belcar marries Méliane and peace reigns in Tyr and Sidon.
            The book’s preliminaries contain two notable contributions. A ROMANTIC MANIFESTO, François Ogier’s lengthy and detailed essay on the contemporary debate on the classical dramatic unities has been justly compared to Victor Hugo’s preface to Cromwell, in which Hugo declares himself a Romantic and lays out the principles of the modern Romantic movement. Pragmatism drives the other piece, a one-page list of cuts to the first day’s drama — proposed by Schélandre at the urging of Robert Estienne — to enable the performance of the two plays in one day (under the title Méliane) in the private theaters of “those who would be shocked by the language of certain scenes and who might not be able to pay for all the scenery and properties indicated” (Lancaster).
            THE PRESENT COPY PRESERVES BOTH THE UNCORRECTED AND CORRECTED TEXT OF TWELVE PAGES (pp. 19-20, 23-26, 29-30, 195-6 and 205-6; that is, the three bifolia B2.7, B4.5 and N2.7). The undivided bifolia with the preferred readings are bound in the middle of the last quire. I have located only one example of the 1608 or the 1628 printing outside France (British Library). Browned (ferrous paper).
¶Renouard, Annales de l’imprimerie des Estienne 207,5; Lancaster, History of French Dramatic Literature in the 17th Century I: 314-9; Soleinne, Bibliothèque dramatique 1030; Lachèvre, Recueils collectifs de poésies de 1597 à 1700 II: 471-73; Arbour, L’Ère baroque 13205; Cioranescu 61949 (Schélandre; “1626” in error) & 51456 (Ogier).

Item #11643

Price: $4,250.00

Status: On Hold

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