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  • Denis Janot (fl. 1529–1544), Parisian Printer and Bookseller: A Bibliography by Stephen Rawles
  • Diane Booton
Denis Janot (fl. 1529–1544), Parisian Printer and Bookseller: A Bibliography. By Stephen Rawles. (library of the Written Word, 54; The Handpress World, 41.) Leiden: Brill, 2017. xx + 749 pp., ill.

The royal printer Denis Janot produced and sold high-quality illustrated vernacular works, employing both traditional gothic and newer roman typefaces, together with ample woodcuts framed with borders and ornaments. Highlights within his production were allegorical and decorative emblem books produced for the luxury book market. This comprehensive bibliography expands Stephen Rawles's dissertation (University of Warwick, 1976) and offers a full record of the printer's achievements, which totalled nearly 400 editions or more than 1,600 extant copies, 80 per cent of which are examined by Rawles. He discusses Janot's career on the basis of the printer's bibliography (there are few relevant archival documents), dividing his lifetime activity into discrete periods based on his changing address to highlight his development as bookseller, printer, and partner/ collaborator with many other printers in Paris. Within each time period, his editions are listed, thus providing a chronological snapshot; for each period, the author describes the printer's marks, typographical materials (forty-one typefaces), sets of woodcut initials (well-illustrated), ornaments, woodcuts (1,057), professional collaborations, and the number of sheets of paper required, which were tallied from a close examination of collations. These elements are cross-referenced to the edition bibliography at the end. Janot's editions are then helpfully described by major literary categories, revealing religious and moralizing works in Latin and French as a dominant classification, followed by verse poetry, classical translations, romance and fiction, medicine and law, and finally by 'gender politics', an anachronistic category in which are listed Les Angoisses douloureuses, the romance novel by Hélisenne de Crenne, as well as Controverses des sexes masculin et femenin [sic] by Gratien Dupont. Besides Janot's obvious desire to turn a profit from his book business, Rawles underscores the printer's 'artistic imperatives' as shown by his emulation of contemporary humanists (p. 48), exemplified by his adoption of the gros canon first-line titles and decorative compartments on his title pages. There follows a descriptive bibliography of Janot's editions in chronological order with undated editions at the end, generally following descriptive standards set forth by Fredson Bowers, as well as naming conventions of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Locations of extant copies are also provided. The editions' titles and colophons are set in black and red with full diplomatic transcriptions that include original contractions (unexpanded) and letter-forms (long-s; u instead [End Page 286] of v; without modern diacritics). Collation formulas, typographical descriptions and dimensions, and woodcut and initials are provided and cross-referenced. There are two appendices: editions that have been attributed to Janot but for which conclusive evidence is lacking; and Janot's catalogue of books for sale, in which each title is cross-referenced to the edition bibliography. The volume concludes with a bibliography of works cited, and two indices of proper names and titles of anonymous works. The compilation of such a comprehensive and detailed bibliography, with its interpretative apparatus, concerning the remarkable output of an early modern printer, is an impressive undertaking. Rawles's volume will certainly become the scholarly reference for Janot, as well as a notable exemplar of descriptive bibliography for early printed books.

Diane Booton
Université Rnnes 2


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pp. 286-287
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