Item #255 Les Ruses et cautelles de guerre. Remy ROUSSEAU.
Les Ruses et cautelles de guerre.
Les Ruses et cautelles de guerre.
Les Ruses et cautelles de guerre.
Les Ruses et cautelles de guerre.
Les Ruses et cautelles de guerre.
Les Ruses et cautelles de guerre.
Les Ruses et cautelles de guerre.
Les Ruses et cautelles de guerre.
An Important French-Gothic Work on Military Tactics, With Excellent Modern Provenance.

Les Ruses et cautelles de guerre.

A fascinating French vernacular "art of war" vade mecum by the largely unknown Remy Rousseau, dedicated to Charles de Bourbon in the final years of the War of the Holy League. The work, which is divided into ten chapters, draws heavily on Frontinus's Strategemata, with direct translations of many passages, including how to divert the courses of rivers to panic the enemy. Authorship of this work has not been deeply studied, and there is confusion regarding the identity of Remy Rousseau, who edited and "augmented" the work, which is supposedly based on a translation by the equally obscure Emery de Saint-Rose. The names are so similar that it is hard to imagine that they are not one and the same person. Brunet stated: "Remy Rousseau n’est guerre que l’éditeur de ce livre. Il se nomme en tête de son épître dédicatoire au duc de bourbon, en date du xxiiii de novembre 1514, et oû il dit qu’il a fait usage de la traduction de Frontin par Emery de Saincte Rose. Le surplus de l’ouvrage est extrait de différents auteurs.” Indeed, each translated passage has its source citation as an adjacent shoulder note. Rousseau writes often in the first person, seemingly directed to a specific unnamed reader, and one wonders whether the work was actually consulted and employed by Charles de Bourbon in his role as chief commander and military strategist for Francis I during the unrest of the sprawling War of the Holy League, which concluded in 1515. The book may have been created as a gift of honor to Charles, who had been elevated to Duke of Vendôme a few months prior to publication. The widow of Jean Trepperel reprinted the text in 1515, and Jean Jehannot did so again in 1521. (Two later, undated editions without imprint information are recorded at the BnF.) Ours is a the first edition, and seems to be the earliest translation of Frontinus into French. A very good copy, with excellent, uninterrupted modern provenance. No copies  of any edition located in American libraries.

Paris? Jean Petit, 1514.

Octavo, 153 x 110 x 15 mm (binding), 151 x 108 x 12 mm (text block). A-H8, [64] ff. Mid-nineteenth-century diced brown morocco, titled, dated, and decorated in gilt on spine; AEG. Extremities a bit rubbed. Interior: Title soiled, with margin tears mended verso long ago, no loss; head fore-corner of G6 torn, touching a letter recto (mended); last leaves fingersoiled.

Provenance:

Contemporary custodial signature in red ink to head margin of title: Victoris Carpentari—; modern penciled notations to endpapers, including bookseller inventory numbers; a faint and  illegible signature to recto of upper free end ending "10/6". Once in the remarkable library of Henry Benjamin Hanbury Beaufoy, with his engraved bookplate to upper pastedown. Beaufoy died in 1851, and his library remained in the possession of his heirs until 1909, when a portion was consigned to Christie, Manson & Woods in June of that year. Our book was offered as lot 1518, and sold for £2, 5d to an unknown buyer. The book was acquired at some point shortly thereafter by the young E. P. Goldschmidt, who had moved to London from Vienna following the Great War; the book appeared in his List 14, as item 555, in 1932, and again in his catalogue titled The Renaissance in France, of 1934, as item 201. It is next found in the library of Thomas Fremantle, the 3d Baron of Cottesloe. Fremantle  most certainly acquired the work directly from Goldschmidt, perhaps from his 1934 catalogue offering. Fremantle died in 1956, and his large library of books on military history, strategy, and tactics remained at the Cottesloe estate until a large portion was consigned to Sotheby's on 19 November 2019. Our book was offered as lot 387 in that sale, and later appeared in the inventory of Sokol Rare Books of London. W. S. Cotter Rare Books acquired the work from Sokol in June of 2022.

Cioranesco 20028; Brunet II, col. 336; Bechtel R-262 (noting that a different copy, in red morocco, was sold by Librarie Rossignol in 2013 for €6,800); Pettegree 46852; USTC 26293; ABPC 1909, 7304 (£2 5s); Renouard ICP II, 962; Renouard Marques, 883; Haebler, Verlegermarken des Jean Petit, IV; not in Fairfax Murray.

Item #255

Price: $12,500.00

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