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Bod-Inc: A-080

Alanus de Insulis

Doctrinale altum seu Liber parabolarum. [Latin and French].


Analysis of Content

a2r [Verse prologue by the translator.] Incipit: ‘Ainsi que Dieu paraboliquement | Maint preschement | Fist de haulte substance | Pour explaner figuratiuement.’ See the description of another copy of this edition in the Boston Public Library: Margaret Munsterberg, ‘The Parables of Alain de Lille', Boston Public Library Quarterly, 7 (1955), 34-42. For the translation: see Raynaud de Lage, Alain de Lille, 16 n. 1 (anonymous translation) and Tony Hunt, ‘  “Les paraboles de Maistre Alain”  ’, Forum for Modern Languages Studies, 21 (1985), 362-75, on the incunable translation 368-72. The fragment of an Anglo-Norman translation of Lambeth MS 371 (thirteenth century) was published by Tony Hunt, ‘Une traduction partielle des “Parabolae” d'Alain de Lille', Moyen Ǎge, 87 (1981), 45-56. A second French translation (Paris, BnF, MS. f. fr. 12478; fifteenth century) was edited by Tony Hunt, Les paraboles, 366-8.

a3r ‘Le prologue du commentateur.’ Incipit: ‘Ce liure selon la coustume des clercs peut estre appelle en deux manieres. L'une Doctrinal par la bonne doctrine qui y est contenue ainsi que en toutes sciences . . .’ Translation of the prologue to the Latin ‘Auctores octo' commentary. For ‘La légende d'Alain' recorded in the prologue and the epitaph quoted, see Raynaud de Lage, Alain de Lille, 38-41 and d'Alverny, Alain de Lille, 24.

A5r Alanus de Insulis: [Doctrinale altum seu Liber parabolarum, Latin and French, with French prose commentary.] Incipit: ‘Ainsi doncques par les dessus dits vers est monstré qu'il n'est si scient en tout le monde qui ne soit subiect à la mort . . .’ Incipit: ‘Du soleil prent sa lumiere la lune | et sa clarté. Pareillement du sage | l'insipient prent science aucune | dont clarté puisse auoir en tout aage.’ Each section consists of two woodcut illustrations, a French prose commentary and then the Latin verse in a smaller type in the left column, and a French verse translation in the standard type in the right column. The French commentary is probably based on the Latin ‘Auctores octo' commentary; without explanation, Munsterberg 39 specifies as the source the Latin edition published in Cologne in 1490, which has the standard ‘Auctores octo' text.


Imprint: Paris: Antoine Vérard, 20 Mar. 1492/3. 4°.


Collation: a10 b6 c d8 e6 f8 g6 g8 i6 k l8 m–o6.

Illustrations: On a2r a woodcut depicting the translator dedicating his work to a king [Charles VIII] of France (Macfarlane 23; 10). Vérard used the woodcut first in Aristotle, Ethiques, 8 Sept. 1488 (Macfarlane 8) and in four other editions before the present one. 251 woodcuts, normally in pairs, at the beginning of each section; most of these cuts had already been used in the Cent nouvelles nouvelles of 1486 (Pellechet 3473): see Hunt, Les paraboles, 369.


ISTC: ia00179000

GW: GW 509;

Hain: HC 385;

Goff: Goff A‑179;


Proctor: Pr 8424;

Others: CIBN A‑96; Fairfax Murray, French Books, 596; Macfarlane 23; Sheppard 6251-2.

LCN: 14334251


Copy number: A-080(1)

Wanting the title-page (a1) and the blank leaf o6.

Binding: Nineteenth-century English gold-tooled parchment by J. Ingram.

Size: 242 × 180 × 21 mm.

Size of leaf: 236 × 170 mm.

On o5r scribbles, on o5v two notes in French: beginnings of letters and two calculations.

Underlining in red crayon, mainly in the Latin text.

Provenance: Francis Douce (1757-1834); armorial book-plate. Bequeathed in 1834.

SHELFMARK: Douce 144.

Copy number: A-080(2)

Wanting the title-leaf (a1), which has been replaced with a cutting bearing the printed title; this was probably taken from another copy. Wanting leaves a10 and o6.

Binding: Eighteenth-century red morocco; on both covers gilt triple fillets form a border; floral stamps in the compartments of the spine; marbled pastedowns.

Size: 261 × 192 × 15 mm.

Size of leaf: 255 × 183 mm.

On a1r and a1v scribbles by various hands.

Provenance: Francis Douce (1757-1834); armorial book-plate. Bequeathed in 1834.

SHELFMARK: Douce 153.

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