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Reviewed by:
  • Priapées ed. par François Mainard
  • Adam Horsley
François Mainard. Priapées. Édition de Guillaume Peureux. (Bibliothèque du xvne siècle, 26; littérature, libertinage et spiritualité, 4.) Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2018. 157 pp.

François Maynard was one of the most prolific seventeenth-century French libertin poets. Yet editions of his collected works largely neglect his corpus of playful or sexually explicit poems in favour of his tamer verse published in recueils collectifs and the poet's own œuvres (1646). Guillaume Peureux's critical edition is a welcome exploration of Maynard's most daring priapic poems that have survived in manuscript form. The extensive critical introduction will impress even the more specialized reader with its attention to detail and illuminating critical analyses. Following a brief biography, Peureux offers a seemingly exhaustive study on the material history of the poems in BnF, Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, MS 2943—on which the edition is based—and Maynard's own surviving notebooks (Bibliothèque de Toulouse, MSS 843 and 844), their composition and inspirations from classical texts, the early modern image of Priapus, the possible motives behind the collection, and Maynard's own judgement of his poems. One of Peureux's central arguments is that the Priapées was conceived as a separate recueil for publication by both Maynard and the owner of MS 2943. The former claim may at first appear unlikely given the hostile climate for libertin poetry following the trial of Théophile de Viau and Richelieu's mild irritation towards Maynard. Yet the expertise which Peureux brings to bear in analysing the poems, their annotations, and the order in which different types of poem are presented, leads to a thorough and convincing case which will be difficult to refute in future studies. The poems are then presented in the second part of the work, in which the intriguing and often substantial variants from other sources are mercifully confined to endnotes, allowing space in the footnotes for comparisons with texts from early modern France, Italy, and antiquity. Spellings have been modernized except in instances where this would affect rules of versification, whereas unfamiliar expressions and vocabulary are explained in the footnotes and a glossary respectively. Peureux uses 'Mainard' rather than 'Maynard', the spelling one usually encounters in modern studies. Although this choice is not explained, the poet signed 'Mainard' in his manuscripts and letters, whereas 'Maynard' appears his œuvres, in most recueils satyriques, in poems which include his name, and in MS 2943. Poetic editions are standardized as 'Mainard' in the bibliography, whereas works by Charles Drouhet—Maynard's chief biographer, who shares Peureux's choice of spelling—appear as 'Maynard', and articles from the Cahiers Maynard appear unaltered in the bibliography but standardized in the footnotes. The bibliography is also missing two anonymous editions of these poems: Priapées de François de Maynard (Paris: Sansot, 1909; likely [End Page 287] edited by Pierre Fons) and the lesser-known Grande polissonnerie de Maynard (Rome: ['imprimé au Vatican'], [n.d.]); as well as Gaston Garrisson's three-volume œuvres poétiques de François de Majnard (Paris: Alphonse Lemerre, 1885—88), which, although it contains numerous errors, is both the largest edition of Maynard's poetry and is referenced in a number of secondary sources. Despite these minor quibbles, Peureux's edition has finally made Maynard's complete priapic manuscript corpus accessible to the modern reader, and will doubtless become a valuable resource for future work on early modern libertin poetry.

Adam Horsley
University of Exeter


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