Using an Example: Denis Sauvage, Philippe de Commynes and the ‘Vieil Exemplaire’

in The Medieval Chronicle 11
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Philippe de Commynes was part of a community of writers in the fifteenth century who referred to their work as Mémoires, but readers did not recognize this as a generic marker and first editions of his work were published as Chroniques. This article examines the editing strategies of Denis Sauvage, the first editor to use the title Mémoires, and his references to an unidenified manuscript. For Sauvage and his publisher, Galliot Du Pré, the manuscript has intellectual and financial value, justifying the granting of a new royal privilege for exclusive publication. However, in many cases, the base text remains the text as originally published, with references to the manuscript serving to draw attention to the skill of the editor’s craft. Similar approaches can be identified in modern editions of medieval histories.

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