Mémoires de Messire Pierre de Bourdeille, by BRANTOME, Pierre de…

Brantôme’s women
BRANTOME, Pierre de Bourdeille, seigneur de (1540-1614).

Mémoires de Messire Pierre de Bourdeille, Seigneur de Brantome, contenans les Vies des Dames Illustres de France de son temps. Leiden, Jean Sambix, 1665.

First Edition. 12mo, (127 x 75mm), pp. [vi], [ii] blank, 407, [1]; small marginal tear on p. 363, just touching the text but with no loss, in contemporary vellum, sturdy but a little spotted and browned, slightly spine lettered in ink.

The first and most famous of Brantôme’s Mémoires, this volume includes the outspoken Vies des Dames Illustres. Written after his retirement from public life in 1589, Brantôme had left instructions that his Mémoires should be published, but it was not until 1665 that this first volume appeared. Written in a frank, conversational manner, Brantôme describes his years at the centre of the glittering court and gives detailed and highly personal accounts of his contemporaries. His accounts give a highly colourful picture of court life and his descriptions of the sex lives of the ladies of the court are striking because of his ability to present graphic detail in a straightforward and almost bland style, as if he were talking about the weather.

OCLC lists BN, Sainte-Geneviève, Oxford, Cambridge, Aberdeen, Harvard, Princeton, Suny, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Penn and James Munroe Museum.

Tchemerzine, II, pp. 110-111.

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