Troubles Faced by an Inexperienced Young Printer: George de Backer’s Edition of Racine, 1699/1700

in Quaerendo
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Abstract

A.-J. Guibert’s Bibliographie des oeuvres de Jean Racine publiées au XVIIe siècle et oeuvres posthumes (Paris 1968) lists a collected ‘Oeuvres de Racine. Nouvelle édition’ in two volumes 12° with imprint ‘A Brusselles, chez George de Backer’, 1700, of which Guibert was unable to trace any copies. The preceding entry in the bibliography is for another ‘Nouvelle édition’ with imprint ‘A Paris, chez Jean Pralart’, 1699-1700, also in two volumes 12°, and Guibert describes the copy at Versailles. A few copies of De Backer’s edition exist in libraries in the UK. This article demonstrates that the Paris imprint is fictitious and that these two ‘editions’ are in fact two issues of the same edition, printed by George de Backer in Brussels. Both issues exist in different states, and the article attempts to define their relationships. The sole rights to print Racine’s works in the Habsburg jurisdiction were awarded to De Backer in 1694 for nine years. The article suggests reasons for the long delay in starting the work and considers the problems faced by the relatively young and inexperienced De Backer and the measures he took which may have led to the different states.

Troubles Faced by an Inexperienced Young Printer: George de Backer’s Edition of Racine, 1699/1700

in Quaerendo

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References

3

Claude Michel Pouchot de ChantassinRelation du voyage et retour des Indes Orientales (Paris: chez la Veuve Coignard; et se vend à Bruxelles chez George de Backer, imprimeur & libraire1692).

4

Guibert op. cit. (n. 1) p. 199.

Figures

  • View in gallery
    Armillary sphere on Athalie title-page in Racine, Oeuvres, Brusselles 1700, vol. 1, Leeds University Library
  • View in gallery
    Foliage and scroll-work, La Thébaïde title-page device in Racine, Oeuvres, Brusselles 1700, vol. 1, Leeds University Library
  • View in gallery
    Two cherubs device on Phèdre title-page in Racine, Oeuvres, Brusselles 1700, vol. 2, Leeds University Library
  • View in gallery
    Three Moors device on general title-page in Racine, Oeuvres, Brusselles 1700, vol. 1, Leeds University Library

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