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Reviewed by:
  • Avis pour dresser une bibliothèque
  • Raphaële Fruet
Gabriel Naudé: Avis pour dresser une bibliothèque. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Bernard Teyssandier. (Cadratin, 12). Paris: Klincksieck, 2008. xliii + 456 pp. € 35.00.

This edition of Gabriel Naudé’s Advis pour dresser une bibliothèque consists of a critical Introduction followed by a facsimile of the 1644 edition on left-hand pages and a modern French transcription on right-hand ones. The transcription is supplemented by a dual system of notes: an alphabetical sequence of footnotes elucidating points of early modern French syntax and vocabulary and providing translations of Latin quotations, and numbered endnotes with contextual and bibliographical information. Teyssandier’s Introduction ranges from an account of the growth of the Mazarin library from 1642 until its dispersal in 1651 — Naudé was the cardinal’s librarian and the Bibliothèque Mazarine his greatest achievement — to an analysis of the text of the Advis, first printed in 1627. To Teyssandier, the Mazarin library demonstrated how the programme outlined in the Advis could be carried out. Dedicated to Henri de [End Page 343] Mesmes, president of the Paris parlement and owner of an important private library, the Advis launched the young Naudé into the Parisian Republic of Letters. Having summarized the nine chapters of the Advis, Teyssandier alludes to the various contexts of Naudé’s treatise, concluding that its Ciceronian style was a political compromise between court culture and urban Gallicanism. Teyssandier also relates the Advis to Naudé’s previous works. He underlines both the novelty of the text and the intellectual traditions on which it feeds. On the one hand, the Advis is the first succint, methodical guide addressing, through a series of ‘bibliometrical’ prescriptions, such fundamental issues as the structure of disciplines and their openness to progress, and the historical nature of the canon and the corresponding relativism of authority. On the other, Naudé’s eclectic answers to these issues draw on several humanist traditions, from scepticism to neo-Stoicism. For Teyssandier, the Advis mainly converses with Justus Lipsius’s De bibliothecis syntagma (1602) rather than with other Renaissance treatises on libraries, such as the Bibliothèques of La Croix du Maine (1584) and Du Verdier (1585). The endnotes mostly provide details of the libraries, authors, and texts to which Naudé alludes. After a short biographical note on a particular author, a list will usually follow citing the first early modern edition in the original language, the first early modern French translation (where appropriate), a modern translation or edition(s), and, finally, a miscellany of modern critical essays. However, this is not always the case, and the reader might sometimes wish that all endnotes were equally informative (endnote 180 on Clavius, for example, does not do him justice). Various misprints and inaccuracies occur along the way (for instance, ‘héliocentrique’ should read ‘géocentrique’ on p. 361, note 33). The concise Introduction and erudite system of notes address a specialist audience. What, then, is the intended audience of the text itself ? At first reading, the 1644 facsimile, printed in a large font, would appear to make the transcription redundant. However, since the transcription supports the system of notes and corrects the 1644 text on the basis of the 1627 original, it is the facsimile that turns out to be superfluous — though beautiful.

Raphaële Fruet
Newnham College, Cambridge


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pp. 343-344
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