'Imprimé en la ville marchande et renommée d’Anvers’: Antwerp Editions of Jean Molinet’s Poetry
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The work of the rhétoriqueur Jean Molinet (1435-1507) was not confined to the Netherlands, either thematically or in its distribution. Yet the region looms large in his career, for most of which he was based in Valenciennes (Hainaut) and served as the indiciaire, or official historian, of the Valois and Hapsburg Dukes of Burgundy. His imposing body of work includes a chronicle, a number of plays, a moralized prose version of the Roman de la Rose, a manual of versification, and a wide range of poetry. In his poetry and chronicle Molinet focuses on events in the Burgundian Netherlands to a greater extent than had George Chastelain, his predecessor as indiciaire. Though much of Molinet’s work remained in manuscript form until after his death, various printed editions appeared during his lifetime.1 Among the posthumous publications are two editions produced in Antwerp by printers whose output covered various languages, notably Dutch, French, and English. Both editions exhibit very significant textual variation from other witnesses; one is a complete reworking of its source. In what follows I explore how these editions respond to changing socio-historical circumstances, and consider the role of their multilingual publishing context in the process of textual transformation. I conclude by reflecting on the role of so-called ‘masterplots’ in the adaptation of topical literature, and on what these cases reveal about the processes of exchange between French- and Dutch-speaking cultural agents in the Burgundian Netherlands.
- College Publications