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Reviewed by:
  • Œuvres complètes, v: Microcosme by Maurice Scève
  • Kathryn Banks
Maurice Scève, Œuvres complètes, v: Microcosme. Édité par Michèle Clément. (Textes de la Renaissance, 189.) Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2013. 389 pp.

While Enzo Guidici’s 1976 edition of the Microcosme has already established the text of the poem, Michèle Clément’s new edition furnishes it with an invaluable critical apparatus that takes full advantage of recent research, in sixteenth-century studies in general and into the Microcosme in particular. Clément’s fascinating Introduction to the poem is not only well grounded in current understanding of the Microcosme but also builds on this research to make important contributions of its own. I found the insights into the temporality of the poem particularly absorbing. Some readers may be disappointed that Scève’s much more commonly read poem, the Délie, is mentioned only very briefly; indeed it would have been stimulating to relate the updated knowledge about the Microcosme to recent research into the Délie, for example during the discussion of the microcosm conceived as a ‘centre de forces’ rather than as a passive image (pp. 34–43). That said, the Introduction is already extensive. Clément’s excellent notes — helpfully situated on the same page as the text of the poem — are concise yet rich. They bring the Microcosme into consistent dialogue with its sources and intertexts, in particular Gregor Reisch’s Margarita philosophica. Clément also provides a helpful glossary. The bibliography of secondary works on the Microcosme is — oddly — presented in chronological rather than alphabetical order, making it less user-friendly than it might be. There is also a bibliography of other works on Scève and on sixteenth-century studies more generally, although some book-length studies of Scève by US scholars do not appear. To conclude, Clément’s edition of the Microcosme will be very useful to scholars of Scève and of ‘scientific poetry’, [End Page 385] and will also make the text more accessible to ambitious students who wish to get a sense of Scève’s poetry beyond the Délie.

Kathryn Banks
Durham University


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pp. 385-386
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