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Book Review s Perrière in an attack on courtiers in Le Théâtre des bons engins of 1539. Although I am loathe to tax someone for not doing what she did not set out to do, it surely would have been useful to compare Montenay’s choice and use of imagery with that of Bèze in his emblems, and to explore the ways she used motifs that had already become part of the standard emblematic stock. In short, this monograph serves to bring an important book to our attention, but with its occasional errors of detail, and its lack of a clearly defined focus (is it a study of a Protestant writer, a woman writer, or an emblematist?), it is in the end rather dis­ appointing. D a n i e l R u s s e l l University o f Pittsburgh Daniel S. Russell. T h e E m b le m a n d D e v i c e in F r a n c e . Lexington, Kentucky: French Forum, Publishers, 1985. Pp. 245. $17.50. This volume is an elaborate investigation of the differences between the emblem and the device in France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Russell, who is Professor and Chairman of the Department of French and Italian at the University of Pittsburgh, traces the evolution of these two concepts in separate chapters, then contrasts them methodically in a third. This part of the book examines in great detail the various rules and formulations found in the principal theoretical works of the period in Italian as well as in French. A fourth and final chapter—probably the one that will interest most readers of this journal—is entitled “ The Emblematic Process” (pp. 161-81). There are 32 pages of notes and 28 illustrations. This is followed by a bibliography (pp. 217-33) and by indexes of names and key terms (pp. 235-43) and of motifs (88 items). Modern critics often overlook the genre’s medieval roots. Many coats of arms in Huon de Méry’s allegorical poem, the Routnoiement Antecrit (c. 1234), and in the contemporane­ ous Lancelot propre where, for example, in one passage the hero is symbolized by a black shield charged with the image of a queen with a knight kneeling before her imploring mercy, border on imagery later found in emblem books. On the other hand, symbolic objects such as Louis XII’s porcupine or Anne de Bretagne’s ermine were also used as heraldic insignia. Scholars also tend to lump emblem and device together. Russell concludes his lengthy discussion of the differences between the two related forms with a helpful aphorism that will no doubt be widely quoted: “ The emblem looked back to medieval ante­ cedents and ways of thought, while the device looked forward to the personal and subjec­ tive symbolisms of Romantic and post-Romantic esthetics” (p. 160). In his final chapter, Russell considers the emblem in light of vulgarisation, a tradition dating back to the thirteenth century. Using Marc-René Jung’s study of an adaptation of Alain de Lille’s Anticlaudianus as his point of departure (pp. 164-66), he draws pertinent inferences from the widespread medieval practice of abridging and moralizing earlier texts. Emblems usually had no such obvious narrative source, of course, but similar techniques of creative condensation and interpretation were employed. Russell also makes effective use of Gérard Genette’s adaptation of Lévi-Strauss’ distinc­ tion between the ingénieur and the bricoleur, suggesting that the emblematist may be com­ pared to the bricoleur who “ tended to disassemble some cultural edifice, some ‘sousensemble de la culture’, or take fragments left over from earlier disintegrations or de­ constructions, and then reassemble some parts of the original edifice in new and modified configurations” (p. 175). He sums up the evidence presented as follows: “ In a formal sense, then, all the emblem 102 Su m m e r 1988 Bo o k R eviews and the device had in common was the combination of picture and text through a meta­ phorical relationship of some sort. They did not combine the picture and text in the same way...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 102-103
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-05
Open Access
No
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