Blasons et Contreblasons
(Click on the call
number to view the digital facsimile of the book.)
Sensuiuent les blasons anatomiques du
corps femenin,: ensemble les contreblasons de nouueau
composez, & additionez, auec les figures, le tout
mis par ordre:/ composez par plusieurs poetes contemporains.
Auec la table desdictz blasons & contreblasons
imprimez en ceste annee.
[Paris]: Pour Charles Langelier, 1543
Description: 86,  leaves:
ill.; 12 cm. (16mo)
About This Edition
A first edition of the works of Clément
Marot’s blason competition was published
in 1536, appended to another work of emblematic poetry,
and was subsequently augmented and reedited several
times. The first collection bearing the title of Blasons
was published in 1543 for Charles L'Angelier. In The
Sixteenth-Century Blason Poetique (Bern: Peter
Lang, 1981), Alison Saunders identifies this copy of
the Blasons in the Douglas Gordon Collection
(then still his private collection) as one of only two
known copies of this important edition:
"Of the various editions of these poems, it
is that produced in 1543 for Charles L'Angelier
which surpasses all the others in the number of
poems it contains, the accuracy of its text and
the sophistication of its printing. Unfortunately
it is also this edition which is the least accessible
of all, since the only two known copies are both
housed in private collections." —Saunders,
The Blason Vogue
Because of his suspected role in the
1534 “Affaire des Placards,” Clément
Marot fled to the protestant sympathizing
court of Ferrara, where he launched a new literary
fashion with his "Blason du Tetin",
also called the "Beau Tetin"
(“The Beautiful Breast”).
Building on the success
of his first blason, Marot organized a poetic contest
for blasons of the female body. Maurice Scève
won the competition with his description of what neoplatonists
deemed one of the noblest and most elevated in the
hierarchy of body parts, "Le Sourcil,"
Following the first series of blasons praising the
beauty of various parts of the female anatomy (often
in a Platonic mode, but sometimes in a more licentious
tone), Marot and the other poets turned their focus
to composing contreblasons, mocking
less admirable and ugly parts of the female body.
Marot's own "Contreblason du Tetin",
also called the "Laid Tetin"
("The Ugly Breast"), launched the contreblason
fad. All of the contreblason poems in this edition, apart from Marot’s, were written by Charles de la Hueterie and dedicated to François Sagon.
The most well-known of the blasonneurs today are
Clément Marot and Maurice
Scève, but many other contemporary poets contributed
to the volume, including Béranger de la Tour and
Jean de Vauzelles.
A pdf of the 1554 edition of the Blasons/contreblasons (A Paris: De la bouticque de Nicolas Chrestien..., 1554) is available on the Gallica server of the Bibliothèque nationale de France: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k71432c
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