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    Arthurian Legend: A Beautiful Copy of the Rare "Lancelot du Lac"

    Lancelot du Lac. Le Premier Volume (le Second volume, le tiers volume) de Lancelot du Lac nouvellemet imprime a Paris. Paris: Philippe le Noir libraire, 1533.

    Three folio volumes in one (8.125 x 12 inches; 206 x 305 mm). [1, title], [7, table], [329, text], [1, colophon]; [1, title], [6, table], [1, blank], [260, text]; [1, title], [7, table], [322, text], [1, colophon], [1, blank] pages. Illustrated with three engraved title pages, two woodcuts, and numerous pictorial initials.

    Period-style full vellum with black lettering on the spine. This copy contains a laid-in note from Duttons Park Avenue, New York, which states, "On this binding of LAUNCELOT DU LAC which has just been executed, there is not a scrap of material used which is less than three hundred years old. June 20, 1938." All edges dyed light red. A very good, clean and bright copy.

    Worldcat records three copies of the Philippe le Noir edition, located in the Newbury Library, the University of Illinois, and Cambridge University. Of these three copies, only two are complete.

    "The prose Lancelot was frequently printed; J. C. Brunet chronicles editions of 1488, 1494, 1513, 1520 and 1533 -- of this last date there are two, one published by Jehan Petit, the other by Philippe Lenoire, this last by far the better, being printed from a much fuller manuscript" (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911).

    "One of two issues printed in 1533, with the name Philippe le Noir in the colophon of the third part. The three titles are in woodcut borders, at the foot of which is a shield bearing the initials 'I. P.,' Jean Petit, whose woodcut device is on the recto of the last leaf (verso blank). On the verso of Aiv of the first volume is a large woodcut of Lancelot receiving his sword from King Arthur, and on the verso of the last leaf [of volume one], ddiii, is Philippe le Noir's device" (A Catalogue of Books Printed in Foreign Languages Before the Year 1600, Volume II. Hoe & Shipman, 12).

    "Lancelot, one of the heroes of Arthurian legend, apparently first mentioned in Chrétien de Troye's Erec, then in his Cligés and Chevalier á la charrette (where he is the hero and the lover of Guinevere). He figures prominently in the vast 13th-c. prose cycle on the quest for the Holy Grail. In Lancelot du Lac (the central section of this cycle) he is carried off (after the death of his father, King Ban) and brought up by the Lady of the Lake, then sent to Arthur's court, where he falls in love with Guinevere. In the course of many adventures, he takes the castle of Dolorous Gard (renamed Joyus Gard after he rids it of enchantments). Here he is visited by Arthur and Guinevere, and the story of his love for her continues (with hostile intervention from Margain la Fée). He also visits the Grail castle, where under a spell, he takes the daughter of its king for Guinevere and fathers Galaad (Galahad). His story is resumed in the last branches of the cycle. He is debarred by his sins from the quest for the Grail, and is smitten with remorse" (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of French Literature, 333).

    Brunet 807.

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
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