As Cynthia Brown’s Poets, Patrons, and Printers has demonstrated, Jean Bouchet’s Regnars traversant (The Foxes That Rove)—first published in Paris c. 1503 with a fraudulent attribution to Sebastian Brant— plays an important role in the development of author-publisher relations in France. It also poses edifying interpretive challenges to its readers. Its governing metaphor, the fox as an image of human vice and dishonesty, is developed through a set of enigmatic woodcuts that depict the narrator’s visions and that must be deciphered in conjunction with the accompanying text. Various motifs in the woodcuts derive from a 1497 broadside by Brant, published in German (and probably also in Latin). The Regnars’ distinctive illustrations, and its combination of prose and verse, were no obstacle to further publication across linguistic and sometimes confessional boundaries. In 1517 Thomas van der Noot printed a Dutch version, De loose vossen der werelt (The Treacherous Foxes of the World), which he had probably translated himself. The Loose vossen was itself translated into High German, as Von den losen füchsen dieser welt (The Treacherous Foxes of this World), and published in 1546 by the Frankfurt printer Hermann Gülfferich. Sixty years later an unlocalized edition appeared with copies of Gülfferich’s images, some of them reversed. Matthes Stöckel published a revised edition, with a more pronounced Lutheran orientation, in Dresden in 1585. The successive translations and revisions are illustrated by increasingly elaborate woodcuts and adopt different approaches to translating verse. I examine the ways in which text-image interactions evolve as the Regnars travels eastward as well as the shifting configurations of verse forms and their meanings. The interplay of conservation and intervention across Dutch and German versions encourages us to reflect on what analytical tools might best elucidate the cross-cultural transmission of complex multimodal texts in early modern Europe.


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pp. 174-198
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