Tory'sCapitals = Champ Fleury 1529

Libertines &cetera
Marot, Learned Poet
Marot's first Psalms
Marot to Bouchart
Marot's Tomb
Rabbi Marot
François Vatable
French Books review


French Vernacular Books put to the test

A user’s review


French Vernacular Book. Books published in the French Language before 1601 / Livres vernaculaires français. Livres imprimés en français avant 1601, ed. Andrew Pettegree, Malcolm Walsby, Alexander Wilkinson, 2 vols. (Brill, Leiden, 2007); € 300.00 / US$ 429.00


The two large in-folio volumes (over 1500 pages) of French Vernacular Books / Livres vernaculaires français present themselves as the world’s first short-title catalogue (STC) covering the entire known production of books (including pamphlets) in French, printed before 1601. It lists almost 52,000 bibliographically distinct items of which the information was gathered by a huge project team, working under the direction of Andrew Pettegree (University of St Andrews), in a period of 12 years. Over 1,650 different libraries throughout the world were searched, often personally visited. Some 180,000 books (once more: including pamphlets) were identified, of which over 100,000 copies were manually inspected and described by a member of the project team. A full bibliographic description is stored in a central database, implying that an electronic record with detailed information, often including a digital image of the title page, backs up every entry in the STC. For more information about the project, see the website of the University of St Andrews or the Publisher Brill (where - it goes without saying - there is no 'blurb' from this review )

It is no surprise, that almost immediately after its appearance, this catalogue has found its way to the shelves with bibliographical works of reference in every self-respecting academic library. It also goes without saying that this two volume catalogue (and the electronic database behind it) is a mer à boire for anyone looking for information about French books from the period covered by FB (the standard abbreviation suggested by the editors to refer to their work). One can only express one’s gratitude to the editors and the sponsors because they had the courage to embark on such a long-term project of a truly global scale, making available the basic information on which all scholarly explorations in the field of sixteenth-century French literature, is based. Only gradually will the impact of this project become visible, when specialists start to use the bibliographical references in FB in their research. For books like these, the saying is more than true that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The report below is exactly that: a user’s review after having digested a small part of it, inviting others to try a piece as well.

The philosophy behind the catalogue and the cataloguing process is explained and accounted for in an instructive bilingual introduction (English/French: p. vii-xxix; ‘method of description: p. xv-xvii / ‘Méthode de description’, p. xxviii-xxix). By definition, a STC only contains an abridged form of a title, including only the essential information to enable the reader to identify and find the book. If known the printer-publisher-bookseller, place of printing, and date of publication is given. The entry concludes with a code, referring to the library (or libraries) where a copy can be found.[1] The project target was to be as complete as possible and thus even books of which no copy survived, but of which the existence is certain, were included. Extensive use is made of existing catalogues and (specialist) bibliographical works, of which a list can be found in the preliminaries. If appropriate, a reference to these works is also provided.

Essential for the usefulness of a work like this is the trustworthiness of the reference, the accuracy in the description, and the accessibility of the catalogue itself. The first two elements can only be established on the road and are the subject of the test we performed below; the last element is mainly dependent on the logic in the order of presentation. FB opted for a presentation as simple as possible: first alphabetic, then chronologic; the alphabetic order is based on the principal author; if the author is not known (or can not be reliably inferred), the alphabetic place is determined by the first essential element in the title; official documents are placed under the name of their respective authorities (e.g. Church orders are arranged with reference to the geographical location; edicts under the name of the king etc.). A Format indication is also presented. No registers (printers, places, authors) are present.


Setting up a test-case: Marot’s Psalm poems in FB

In preparing my Ph.D. on Clément Marot and religion, I had to do some basic bibliographic research, mainly concerning Marot’s Psalm translations. As a working tool I drew up a bibliography of all known publications during his lifetime (Marot died in 1544), based on standard bibliographical works, if possible complemented by personal consultation. Because the bibliography of Marot’s Psalm poems is quite complex (they appeared in print both in complete and partial editions, with and without his authorisation, as poems and as hymns, and in some attested editions where no surviving copy is known), this part of his publications might serve as a test case for FB, not only because one can establish the validity of the references to printed editions of Marot’s Psalms, but also as it will very soon become clear, whether or not the project team did indeed dig up new material. The temporal limitation to editions printed during Marot’s lifetime made it possible to test whether the entries in FB were exhaustive, i.e. really completely covering the field. In this article, the result of the test is offered to the reader ‘as is’, i.e. without the pretension of completeness, let alone of assessing the general value of FB, which is beyond dispute.

During the verification process, I occasionally consulted the editors at St. Andrews for further clarifications. During these contacts, the editing board repeatedly expressed its eagerness to get feedback from scholars in the field, in order to improve their database, or rather: to correct the short-titles derived from it, because it is often there where things went wrong, as can be inferred from the survey below. Concerning the known editions, we checked the accuracy in the description of these books in the short title, concentrating not only on correctness, but also on the presence of the vital information to properly identify the book and distinguish it from similar editions. A short-title that is too short looses its reference.

A preliminary question to resolve while consulting a work of reference like this is where to look for poetical translations of biblical texts. Since no registers are present, one is dependent on the correctness and transparency of the method of description. Three options seemed possible: Psalm poems can be classified as Bible translations, as poems and as ecclesiastical songs. Therefore, in order to locate all possible editions of Marot’s Psalm poems, we looked in three sections of FB: 1. ‘Bible-AT-Psaumes’ (Marot as translator); 2. ‘Marot, Clément’ (Marot as author); 3. ‘Strasbourg’ and ‘Genève’ (the two places where – during Marot’s lifetime – an official liturgical publication appeared also comprising a number of Marot’s Psalm poems as hymns). In the section ‘Bible-AT-Psaumes’ 51 entries cover the period before 1544; Marot’s name appears nine times as translator (FB 4583, 4590, 4596, 4597, 4598, 4600, 4601, 4602, 4604). In the section ‘Marot, Clément’ 127 items are present referring to Marot’s works published during his lifetime, none containing an explicit reference to his Psalm poems. In the section ‘Strasbourg’ four official publications are mentioned, none relevant; in the section ‘Genève’ six items refer to the period before 1544 and although in none Marot’s name is mentioned, two times a liturgical service book is signalled that contains ‘chantz ecclesiastiques’ (FB 22498, 22499), thus implicitly referring to his Psalm poems.[2] Based on these results, we can infer that FB opted for subsuming Marot’s Psalm poems under the Bible-translations, excepting editions in which the Psalm poems were included in official liturgical books.[3]


Performing the test

We first tried to relate all known printed editions of Marot’s Psalm poems (before 1544) to corresponding entries in FB, in order to check the completeness of FB (are all known publications present?) and the accuracy of the short-titles.[4] Subsequently the remaining entries referring to Marot’s Psalm poems in FB (if any) are scrutinised carefully, for they might refer to hitherto unknown editions, discoveries. We begin with the editions of which at least a copy is known and which are thus described in the current works of reference (nrs. 1-7) and then add the two editions which are known but of which no copy has survived (nrs. 8-9). If references to previously unknown copies were found, I tried to verify these with the means available to me.[5]


1. before 1531: separate edition on plaquette of Psalm 6. No date, no place, no publisher is mentioned. (Mayer # 08, Higman B 77).

FB 4585 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Le VI pseaulme de David. [Lyon], s.n. [1531]. 8°.        S20.

The short title of FB, together with the library code (S20: Sevilla) certifies that this entry indeed refers to this edition. The accuracy of the entry though is wanting, since the most essential information is missing, the name of the author/translator, Clément Marot, mentioned on the title page itself. This is a serious omission. A minor issue is that recent bibliographic research has identified the printer as Claude Nourry, and has suggested changing the presumed date (1531) in a terminus ante quem.[6]

Suggested emendation:

FB 4585 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Le VI. pseaulme de David. [Lyon, Nourry, before 1531]. 8°.             S20.


2. 1539: Aulcuns Pseaulmes et cantiques... Psalm translations by Marot, Calvin (and others?), published anonymously as a hymnbook in Strasbourg. (Mayer # 82, Higman B 82, Pidoux ST39).

FB 4590 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Calvin, Jean (tr.). Aulcuns Pseaulmes et cantiques mys en chant. Strasbourg. [Johann Knoblauch], 1539. 8°.       M03, G02.

Although an accurate description, an incongruity can be detected. According to the adopted presentation order in FB, this edition should have been mentioned under ‘Strasbourg’, not under ‘Bible-AT-Psaumes’. The library reference is misleading; of this edition only one copy exists (M03, Munich), the second copy mentioned (G02, Geneva), is a reproduction.[7]



3a. 1541: Psalmes de David... Antoine des Gois, Antwerp. Marot’s 30 Psalms together with 15 Psalm poems by other poets, explicitly mentioning the editor: Pierre Alexandre. The reference to the printer and the place of printing is not present on the title page, but on the verso of the last page. (Mayer # 93, Higman B 85).

FB 4596 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Alexandre Pierre. Psalmes de David. [Antwerpen, Pierre des Gois], 1541. 8°.            P04.

There are some errors: ‘Pierre des Gois’ should be ‘Antoine des Gois’. The name of the printer and the place of publishing are mentioned in the book itself, so the square brackets can be removed.

Suggested emendation:

FB 4596 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Alexandre Pierre. Psalmes de David. Antwerpen, Antoine des Gois, 1541.   8°.        P04.


3b. 1541: Psalmes de David... Antoine Des Gois, Antwerp. This is a twin edition of 3a, but Marot’s dedicatory letter to King Francis and some other poems (some of which attributed to Marot, are added). In this publication no editor is mentioned. (Mayer # 94, Higman B 86)

FB 4597 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Psalmes de David. Antwerpen, Antoine des Gois, 1541. 8°.   P01; B05.

This seems a correct entry. Until now, only one copy was known in Paris, FB though suggests that a second copy has been found in Berlin (B05).[8]


4. 1541 Trente Pseaulmes de David... Roffet, Paris. This is the first official edition of Marot’s first selection of 30 versified Psalms. The date of publication is not mentioned, only the date of the privilege: 30 November 1541. (Mayer # 101, Higman B 90).

FB 4598 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Trente pseaulmes de David. Paris, Etienne Roffet, [1541]. 8°.            P01; S15.

This is a correct reference. Until now only one copy was known in Paris, FB though suggests that a second copy has been found in St. Petersburg.[9]



5. 1542 Psalmes de David... Dolet, Lyon. This is a reprint of 3b (including layout and printing errors) by Etienne Dolet, adding two Psalm poems of Maurice Scève at the end. Since in the only known copy (Vatican) the title page is missing, every title is a conjecture. (Mayer # 112, Higman B 92).

FB 4600 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Psaulmes français. [Lyon, Etienne Dolet, 1542]. 32°.     R06.

One can ask whether it should not be indicated that a title is a conjecture by placing it between square brackets, since distinguishing between what is really written and what is a conjecture is essential for a proper bibliographic orientation. The title of this publication by Dolet, being a reprint of 3b (with two additions), might well have been similar to Des Gois’s: Psalmes de David. The two additions are important enough to be signalled in short-title, since they concern a first publication of Psalm poems by Maurice Scève (Psalm 26[27] and 83[84]).

Suggested emendation:

FB 4600 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Scève, Maurice (tr.). [Psalmes de David. Lyon, Etienne Dolet, 1542]. 32°. R06.


6a. 1542 La manyere de faire priers aux eglises Françoyses.. ensemble pseaulmes et cantiques… Incorporation of the 30 Psalms of Marot (and some other hymns) in a liturgical service book, published in Strasbourg. The name of the printer and place of printing given on the title page are fraudulous: Rome, Theodore Brusz. (Mayer # 103, Higman C 65, Pidoux ST42).

FB 8436 Calvin, Jean. La manyere de faire prieres aux eglises francoyses. [Strasbourg, Johann Knobloch], 1542. 8°.        G02.

The description itself is correct, the location in FB is once more very odd: I found it – by accident – among the books of Jean Calvin (similar location in Higman), although this edition was published by Pierre Brully, Calvin’s successor in Strasbourg.[10] According to the adopted method and order of description of FB, this official church hymnal should have been mentioned under the name of the geographical place to which it applies: ‘Strasbourg’ (cf. 6b).



6b. 1542 La forme des prieres et chantz ecclesiastiques… Incorporation of the 30 Psalms of Marot in the liturgical service book of Geneva, not mentioning place or printer. (Mayer # 104, Higman C 49, Pidoux GE42, GLN-41).

FB 22498 Genève. La forme des prieres et chantz ecclesiastiques. [Genève, Jean Girard], 1542. 8°.  G02; S13.

This seems a correct reference, also at the right place in FB (sub ‘Genève’), but the suggestion that two copies exist is once more misleading. Geneva only owns a photocopy.[11]



7a. 1543 Trente deux pseaulmes de David... Plus vingt aultres… Official publication of the 50 Psalms (text only; the thirty already known, followed by twenty new ones) plus some extra poems/prayers, printed in Paris by Etienne Roffet. The date of publication is not mentioned, only the date of the privilege. (Mayer # 119, Higman B 97).

FB 4604 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Trente deux pseaulmes de David. Paris, Etienne Roffet, [1543]. 16°.          T03.

Although correct, FB omits essential information in its short title, since this edition also contains – next to a reprint of the first collection of Psalm poems (Trente pseaulmes, FB 4598) – the second collection of Psalm poems (Vingt pseaumes), translated by Marot while staying in Geneva. This is vital information that should have been added (cf. Higman B 97).

Suggested emendation:

FB 4604 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Trente deux pseaulmes de David... Plus vingt aultres. Paris, Etienne Roffet, [1543]. 16°.            T03


7b. 1543 Cinquante Pseaumes de David. An anonymous publication of the 50 Psalms (text only) plus some extras, which by means of typographical research has been conclusively assigned to Jean Girard. (Mayer # 116, Higman B 95, GLN-46). At first sight it is not immediately clear which of the next entries refers to this edition..

FB 4601 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Cinquante Pseaumes en françois. [Genève, Jean Girard], 1543.       Higman B 96.

FB 4602 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Cinquante Pseaumes. [Genève, Jean Girard], 1543. 4°.     P04, P18.

Comparison of the references to the location of a real copy is conclusive: material copies of FB 4602 exist, whereas FB 4601 only has a reference to ‘Higman B 96’, a description of a lost liturgical edition with music (see below n° 9).



This edition concludes the list of known printed editions of which a copy has survived.[12] The next part of our test concerns the allocation of printed editions of which we know that they have existed, but of which – until now – no copy is known to have survived. With regard to Marot’s Psalm poems the existence of two such editions is attested by contemporary references. According to FB’s philosophy, a reference to this kind of editions should be present in FB. To establish this, we first describe what is known about these editions and then try to find a corresponding entry in FB.


8. At some time before May 1539, Jean Girard (Genève) must have printed an unknown number of Marot’s Psalm poems. (Mayer # 74, Higman does not mention this edition). The existence of this edition is certain, because it is based on a declaration of the printer himself, as recorded by the scribe of the City Council of Geneva on 1 May 1539. During a session in which Girard was interrogated about his printing activities, he is summoned to name all his publications since his arrival in the city. Among others he mentions “Saulmes de Clement Marot” (orthography of the City Council’s secretary).[13] According to FB’s philosophy, an entry referring to this edition should be present; we however, were not able to find one.

Suggested addition

FB 4590a Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). [Pseaulmes de David, Genève, Jean Girard, before May 1539].                       Mayer # 74.


9. On the ninth of June 1543 the Geneva Council discussed the publication of an augmented edition of their liturgical service book (see above n° 6b), by now containing all 50 Psalm poems of Marot with music (provided by the ‘chantre’ Guillaume Franc).[14] Since no copy of this edition is known it is hard to describe it properly. Whether it was printed as one issue (just like the previous versions and the 1545 Strasbourg version) or in two issues (Hymnbook and Service-book separately) cannot be conclusively deduced from the entry in the Council’s registers. This implies, that we are looking for an entry which can be phrased in different ways. If Girard printed it as one issue it probably would have been entitled: La Forme des prieres et chantz ecclesiastiques... If the two elements were printed separately we have to look for a hymnbook with Cinquante Pseaumes (et cantiques) and a liturgical service book: La forme des prieres... The references in the standard works are not univocal and C.A. Mayer does not even mention the existence of this issue at all in his bibliography:

Psalms (with music) Forms (of Prayer) Forms and Psalms
Higman B 96   Higman C 50
    Pidoux [GE43]
GLN-1376 GLN-52  


Another complicating factor is that it is not entirely certain that it was printed as planned, because the Council objected to the presence in the Hymn section of Marot’s French Translation of the first part of the Ave Maria (‘La Salutation Angelique’). This implies that we cannot be entirely sure whether the Psalter part was ever published, although generally this is taken for granted. A tentative description can be found in Higman, which is also the basis for the entry in FB, we already mentioned above:

FB 4601 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.) Cinquante Pseaumes en françois. [Genève, Jean Girard], 1543        Higman B 96.

Since this edition is commanded and sponsored by the Council and promoted by Calvin (preface of 10 June 1543), this entry should be sub ‘Genève’.[15] At that location though, we find an entry to a liturgical service book containing both Psalms and Forms:

FB 22499 Genève. La forme des prieres et chantz ecclesiastiques. [Genève, Jean Girard], 1543. 8°.  H09, L03.

The reference to H09 (Halle) and L03(Lausanne) suggests that the team of St Andrews discovered two copies of this edition, of which the title suggests that Girard in 1543 did print Psalms and Forms together in one issue. If true, not only FB 4601 should be suppressed, but also hymnologists and musicologists will be delighted and queue to consult these copies, since concerning the melodies of the Psalms in this edition one had to resort to conjectures based on re-editions of the Psalter in Lyon in 1547. Unfortunately, once scrutinised the entry FB 22499 turned out to be inaccurate. It should have read: “Forme des prieres ecclesiastiques”, without a reference to “chantz”.[16] It refers to a separate edition of the liturgical service book in Geneva: only liturgical Forms, no Psalms. Even without the Psalter, FB 22499 testifies of a true discovery, but at the same time produced a ghost, since in reality only one copy has been found (Halle), the Lausanne copy being undated and bound in a 1742 Bible-edition.[17] So, we probably have to reverse our previous conclusion: Girard did not print Psalms and Forms together, but separately. FB 4601 with reference to the lost liturgical Hymnbook (Higman B 96) can be retained, but should be transferred to the rubric ‘Genève’, accompanying the separate edition of the liturgical forms to which FB 22499 in reality refers.

Suggested emendation:

FB 4601            transferred to the rubric Geneva:

FB 22499a        Genève. Marot, Clément (tr.). Calvin, Jean. [Franc, Guillaume]. [Cinquante Pseaumes. Genève, Jean Girard, 1543].         Higman B 96.

FB 22499b Genève. La forme des prieres ecclesiastiques. [Genève, Jean Girard], 1543. 8°.   H09.


All printed editions of Marot’s Psalm poems we know of (both existing and lost) are now linked to entries in FB (or such an entry is added). One discovery has been made. Every remaining entry in FB referring to Marot and his Psalm poems must also contain a discovery, but this time of previously unknown edition. And indeed, there is one such entry:

FB 4583 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Psalmes de David. Paris, s.n., 1530. 16°.  M10.

If true (i.e. corresponding to reality), this would be sensational, because a Psalm publication by Marot at this early date (1530) would subvert the entire research on this field. The results of our test so far though suggest that some caution might be advisable, and indeed the full title, supplied by the librarian of Munich and by the editorial board (from the database) keeps silent about the date and excludes an early dating.[18]

PSALMES DE DAVID TRADUICTZ SELON L'HEBREU PAR CLE. MAROT. Avec l'artifice rethorique, & tables des observations d'iceux, non encores par cy devant imprimez… Imprimé à Paris, sur la copie de Remy Guedon.

Rémy Guédon published Marot’s Psalter for the first time in 1548 (FB 4656) in Strasbourg. The title of our edition corresponds closely to some publications from the 1550s and a Paris edition of 1561 (for Barbe Regnault; Pidoux 61/I) even is identical, only the reference to the copy of Guédon is omitted in the title. In the Bibliographie des Psaumes en vers français (forthcoming), the original edition De l’imprimerie de Remy Guedon is described; it appeared in Paris with Claude Garamond in 1552.[19] The STC-entry should be corrected and be placed together with similar publications of the mid sixteenth century:

Suggested emendation:

FB ?? Bible-AT-Psaumes. Marot, Clément (tr.). Psalmes de David traduictz selon l’hebreu. Paris, s.n., [1555]. 16°.          M10.


This completes our systematic test of FB concerning the references to Marot’s Psalm translations, which appeared in print during his life. It is clear that FB has not stood the test. It was neither accurate, nor complete. Sometimes vital information that was available in other works of reference was overlooked; sometimes information provided was erroneous. The fact that some of the errors signalled above could have been avoided by consulting the (online) catalogues of the libraries is embarrassing for a project of this import.[20] The errors signalled in the description of already known editions remain puzzling, since in most cases they could have been avoided by comparing the short-titles with the expert descriptions in existing bibliographical works like Higman’s or Mayer’s. Is it possible, we wonder, that something went wrong during the final stage of FB, i.e. the condensation of the information present in the central database to produce the STC? If feedback was given from that database, most errors were immediately exposed and could be easily corrected. However, this does not exculpate the project team, since the printed edition of FB is the only element of their project that is accessible to the public, and thus should have been edited with greater care. It is here that the results of the 12-year project are communicated… or not.

Additional verifications

We performed some additional soundings to gain a more balanced impression of the solidity of FB. These soundings are not as thorough and comprehensive as our main test, but simply a further investigation in the same section ‘Bible-AT-Psaumes’, to see what has happened with some other early French translations of the entire Psalter, i.c. the translation by Lefèvre d’Etaples and (of the Hebrew Psalter) by Felix Pratensis. The first is prominently present in FB; it appeared for the first time in 1523/1524 followed by several reprints. After the completion of the entire Bible translation (1530), a slightly adapted version of the Psalter appeared in 1532 with some interesting additions. The appropriate entries with references to the Paris edition of 1523/1524, and the Antwerp and Paris reprints of 1526 are present. They all carry almost identical titles, but strangely enough, the essential information is not provided: the name of the translator: Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples.[21] With regard to the 1532 edition the name of Lefèvre is present, this time together with two other translators.

FB 4587 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Lefèvre d’Etaples, Jacques (tr.). Luther, Martin (tr.). Bucer, Martin (tr.). Le livre des psalmes. [Alençon, Simon du Bois, 1532]. 8°    P03, P04, C59; L01.

Four copies are signalled: two in Paris (P03- Mazarine, P04-library of the SHPF), one in the British Library (L01) and one in Cluny’s municipal library (C59). Recent scholarship has revealed that this entry should be disambiguated, since P04 differs from the others.[22] According to his description, all editions have in common that Bucer’s arguments head the Psalms and that Lefèvre’s translation is partly revised. Only the copy in Paris (P04) contains a French translation of Luther’s preface to the Psalms (gathering B 1-10), inserted between the calendar and the first Psalm. So, only for this copy the name of Luther is true, but not as a translator but as an author. Mutatis mutandis, the same goes for Martin Bucer. A more correct entry would be:

4587a Bible-AT-Psaumes. Lefèvre d’Etaples, Jacques (tr.). Bucer, Martin. Le livre des psalmes. [Alençon, Simon du Bois, 1532]. 8°.        P03, L01

4587b Bible-AT-Psaumes. Lefèvre d’Etaples, Jacques (tr.). Luther, Martin. Bucer, Martin. Le livre des psalmes. [Alençon, Simon du Bois, 1532] . 8°.    P04


A crucial event concerning the interpretation of the Psalms is the appearance of translations based on the Hebrew, one of the first and most influential was published by Felix Pratensis (or De Prato): Psalterium ex hebraeo diligentissime ad verbum fere tralatum (Venice, 1515), with an imprimatur by Pope Leo X. In 1531 a French version of this translation appeared: Le livre des Pseaulmes de David, traduictes selon la pure verite Hebraique ensuyvant principalement linterpretation de Felix previlegee… (Higman B 75). In the entry in FB, Felix is transformed in an editor and the word ‘previlegee’ is interpreted as his family name, resulting in a quite embarrassing entry for a publication of this stature:

FB 4584 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Previlegee, Felix (ed.). Le livre des Pseaulmes de David. Antwerpen, Merten de Keyser, 1531. 8°.         A04

This should be corrected:

FB 4585 Bible-AT-Psaumes. Pratensis, Felix (tr.). Le livre des Pseaulmes de David. Antwerpen, Merten de Keyser, 1531. 8°.         A04

The 1541 reprint of this French translation of Pratensis’s Psalter by Antoine des Gois is listed in FB without any reference to a translator whatsoever (FB 4592). In this case, the name of Pratensis should be added.

So far for the section ‘Bible-AT-Psaumes’[23]; the entire section – at least as far as the period between 1523 and 1543 is concerned, the period we checked and for which we claim some elementary expertise – does not offer the solid information one expects from a bibliographical work of reference. Too many entries were found wanting, others were lacking (and not only concerning details or minor issues) to trust the remaining references in this section.[24] We have to conclude, that in our test FB has not proven to be a reliable working tool. Sometimes we even had the impression that insights of recent (and not too recent) scholarship were not available to the editors.[25]


An overall inaccuracy, which was the result of our main test, was not counterbalanced by our further partial surveys, on the contrary: the number of errors only increased. Therefore, we cannot but conclude that the often-repeated assertion that the entries in FB were checked and double-checked before they were published is not borne out in reality; the claim that this work now should be considered the new standard is thus rather premature. We simply found too many incorrect entries and references (both in description and referencing), to use this work as a work of reference. Reliability is a conditio sine qua non for a ‘work of reference’, for if the foundations are not solid, how can one build? We can only hope that our soundings are not representative.

Nevertheless, this negative evaluation only concerns the final stage of the project, the printed short title catalogue, the STC. The greater part of this project, i.e. all stages preceding the final stage (the distillation of short-titles from the central database) might well deserve a much more positive salute. As we have already experienced in communications with St Andrews, this project has the competence to correct itself. The greater part of the errors found could be unmasked and corrected using the detailed information present in the central database of FB at St Andrews itself. However, for an interested reader of these volumes this is not much of a comfort, since this database is not accessible to outsiders.

Pondering this state of affairs, another conclusion forcibly suggested itself: is it hazardous to suggest that the time for book-versions of catalogues of this ambit and pretension might well be past? The final stage of the production of a printed version that has to be extracted from a digital database, is simply not as controllable as it should be; once published, errors are not easily correctable though fatal with respect to usefulness. The other side of this assessment is that perhaps the time has come to make bibliographic information accessible using electronic means. Digital databases can not only be made accessible and searchable in a simple and user-friendly way, but can also be controlled, corrected and improved on the road; they are dynamic and can be kept up-to-date, whereas a printed version is static and almost immediately obsolete.[26]

Therefore, I call upon the project team of St Andrews, to shift focus and not to aim at the production of printed STC’s, but on the development of a user-friendly interface of their digital databases, including feedback possibilities, accessible on-line. This would instantaneously transform FB in a priceless working tool (instead of a high-priced book), a gold mine for lovers of the sixteenth century French Books. For the time being interested scholars and other amateurs of French sixteenth-century literature, can only use FB with caution.


Antwerp, Dick Wursten


















[1] A combination of the first character of the location (city) and a number; no further organising principle. By way of example: the participating Antwerp libraries are catalogued as A12, A23, A34, A40, A91, A92.





















[2] After 1543 Marot’s Psalm poems were generally printed separately as songs in a hymnbook, slowly incrementing because of new contributions of Psalm poems by Beza and – outside Geneva – other poets. These editions are rubricised under ‘Bible-AT-Psaumes’.
[3] This option though is not carried through consistently, since the Strasbourg liturgical editions do not appear under ‘Strasbourg’, as do the Geneva editions. They are dispersed over several sections of FB: in ‘Bible-AT-Psaumes’ we find Aulcuns pseaulmes et cantiques, Strasbourg 1539 (FB 4590); the enlarged liturgical edition (La manyere de faire prieres, Strasbourg, 1542) I only discovered accidentally when leafing through the section ‘Calvin, Jean’ (FB 8436), an attribution which is at least misleading. It is simply erroneous that the next edition (forme des prieres et chants ecclesiastiques, Strasbourg 1545) is subsumed under ‘Genève’ (FB 22501). The suggestion that a copy of it can be found in Strasbourg (S01) is once more erroneous, since the only copy known of this edition (indeed in Strasbourg) was destroyed in 1870. Finally, the 1548 Strasbourg edition of Marot’s Psalms can be found in the section ‘Bible-AT-Psaumes’ (FB 4656). For the confused allocation of the lost liturgical edition of this liturgical service book in Geneva (1543), see below.
[4] For convenience we add a reference to the current bibliographical standard works, if relevant: Claude-Albert Mayer, Bibliographie des éditions de Clément Marot publiées au XVIe siècle (Paris 1975); Francis M. Higman, Piety and the people: religious printing in French, 1511-1551 (Aldershot, 1996). Pierre Pidoux, Le psautier huguenot du XVIe siècle, vol. 2 (Basle, 1962). One can also consult: Clément Marot, Cinquante pseaumes de David: mis en françoys selon la vérité hébraïque, ed. G. Defaux (Paris, 1995). A very useful working tool concerning fifteenth- and sixteenth-century publications printed in Geneva, Lausanne, and Neufchatel is the online database “GLN 15-16”, supervised by Jean-François Gilmont:
[5] I first consulted the online catalogues of the libraries referred to (if available). On occasion, I asked librarians for more information and approached the project team of St Andrews. The partial results and answers are incorporated in this article at their proper places.
[6] Jean-François Gilmont and William Kemp, ‘La plus ancienne edtion d’un psaume traduit par Clément Marot’, in Le livre évangélique en français avant Calvin: études originales, publications d’inédits, catalogues d’éditions anciennes, ed. Jean-François Gilmont (Anderlecht, 2003), p. 100-113, including a photographic reproduction.
[7] The online catalogue (Institute d’Histoire de la Réformation, consulted 22 August 2008) first also suggested an original. After signalling this to the librarian, the librarian replied: “You are unfortunately right: we have photocopies. I corrected the item data...” (e-mail, 28 August 2008). The Munich copy was discovered by O. Douen. A facsimile edition appeared recently: Aulcuns pseaulmes & cantiques mys en chant, facsimile edition with an introduction by Jan R. Luth (Brasschaat, 2003).







[8] The online catalogue of B05 (Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz) does not mention this title, only the 1544 edition of Dolet (FB 4606) with the remark that it cannot be consulted, because of ‘Kriegsverlust’. But perhaps St Andrews had access to other parts of the library than covered by the catalogue.
[9] The online catalogue of S15 (National Library of Russia) does not mention this edition, only a copy of “Trente psaulmes de David, mis en francoys per Cl. Marot. - S.l., 1542. - 16°.” (NLR Format, place and year of this entry are not corresponding to FB 4598, nor to any other reference in FB. This deserves further clarification. Perhaps though, St Andrews had access to parts of the library not yet covered by the catalogue. 


















[10] The attribution to Calvin is based on the supposition that it concerns a reprint of a text from 1540 of which no copy is known and even the existence is not certain (it is not mentioned in FB, nor in Higman).
[11] GLN-14 signals only one material copy (Stuttgart), for Geneva only a photographic reproduction is mentioned. Perhaps noteworthy: in 1959, a facsimile reprint (prepared and annotated by Pierre Pidoux) was published.























[12] For reasons of clarity we omitted references to Le Miroir de treschrestienne princesse Marguerite de France (Paris, Augereau, 1533, many reprints afterwards), to which Psalm 6 was added in some editions (FB 36285, FB 36286; NB: in these entries Marot is not mentioned as translator but as editor). For similar reasons we also did not include editions of Marot’s works in which one or more of his Psalm poems were incorporated. For completeness: the 1544 editions of the Psalms by Etienne Dolet and Jean de Tournes (FB 4606 and FB 4605) are generally considered posthumous.
[13] For the full list of Girard's printing activity: Pidoux, Le Psautier huguenot, vol. II, p. 2. He refers to Archives d'Etat de Geneve, Procès Criminels, 2e Série, n° 450 (Cartier, Arrêts, p. 533-535). This edition of the Psalms of Marot (‘Saulmes de Clement Marot’) should not be assimilated with one of the two editions of ‘Les Psalmes de David’, translated by Olivetan: FB 4588 (1537) and FB 4591 (1539). Girard refers to this publication of his in the same enumeration but clearly as a distinct title: ‘Les Saulmes de David’.
[14] “Psalmes de David, lesqueulx sont imprimé avecque la game et les prieres de l’Eglises...” (Pidoux II, p. 20); about the remuneration of the melodist Guillaume Franc, p. 19; about the edition itself, p. 23-24.
















[15] One could even ask if Calvin should not be mentioned as co-author (Preface); the same with regard to Guillaume Franc as the author and/or revisor of the melodies.
[16] Higman C 50 also refers to both: “La forme des prieres et chantz…”.
[17] The online catalogue of Lausanne, consulted 23 June 2008, contained a reference to: “La forme des prières ecclésiastiques ; Lieu / Date [S.l.] : [s.n.], [s.d.]”. Notice the absence of a date. The librarian of Lausanne, Silvio Corsini, kindly supplied me with the following information about the copy: “Le texte de "La forme des prières ecclésiastiques" référencé sous la cote mentionnée TP 2861 figure en fait à l'intérieur d'une Bible éditée à Amsterdam en 1742. Il occupe les pages 141 à 178. C'est la raison pour laquelle cette notice - qu'il convient de corriger, voire de supprimer - ne mentionne pas de date.” (e-mail 03 July 2008). In the database of GLN 15-16 only the Halle copy is mentioned (GLN-52), of which the Bibliothèque de Genève owns a microfilm (Fi 121 (3)). The notice signals that the rubric ‘visitation des malades’ is present in this edition for the first time.
[18] The on-line catalogue of Munich provided the following title for this book: “Psalmes De David Traduictz Selon L'Hebreu / Marot, Clément / [ca. 1530].” After having contacted the librarian this probability date has been removed and replaced by [ca. 1552]”.
[19] Courtesy of Jean-Michel Noailly, who immediately supplied the proper information from his database, Bibliographie des Psautiers imprimés en vers français, which is expected to be published in 2009. For a general presentation of this project, see his article in Les paraphrases bibliques qux XVIe et XVIIe siècles, ed. Véronique Ferrer and Anne Mantero (Geneva, 2006), p. 225-240. He suggests as probability date [1555], because a second copy (in Chicago, not mentioned in FB) is bound with a 1554 copy of Marot’s Oeuvres.
[20] Concerning FB 22499, the online catalogue of Halle provides the following title for this book: “La forme des prieres ecclesiastiqves, avec la maniere d'administrer les Sacramens, & celebrer la Mariage, & la visitation des malades/ Jean Calvin / Verfasser: Calvin, Jean *1509-1564* / Erschienen: [Genève : Gérard], 1543.” The online catalogue of Lausanne (see above note 17): “La forme des prières ecclésiastiques ; Lieu / Date [S.l.] : [s.n.], [s.d.]”. For FB 4583, see above note  NOTEREF _Ref206584319 \h  \* MERGEFORMAT 18.
















[21] FB 4578, 4580, 4582. Une epistre comment on doibt prier Dieu. [Une table pour facilement trouver les pseaulmes]. Le psaultier de David. Lefèvre’s name also lacks in the entry referring to his complete bible translation, which appeared in print in 1530 in Antwerp with Martin de Keyser (Lempereur) and was often reprinted afterwards: FB 4239, 4243, 4251 etc.
[22] For more information, see the description in Higman B 78; E.F. Rice, The prefatory epistles of Jacques Lefèvre d'Etaples and related texts, (New York, 1979), p. 566; G. Defaux, Cinquante pseaumes, p. 75. If the bibliothèque municipale of Cluny really owns a copy, it should be checked whether it is identical to either known edition. Ominous: the copy in Cluny is not mentioned by Higman (B 78).
[23] From 1544 onwards I’ve only leafed through the remainder of this section. One peculiarity immediately caught my eye: “FB 4704 Marot, Clément (tr.). Bèze, Théodore de (tr.). Pseaumes octontetrois (sic) de David. Genève, Jean Crespin, 1551. G02, W06, R09”. The spelling mistake is not noteworthy, rather the fact that until now only one copy was known (R09, Rutgers State University Library), which was discovered in 1966, bound together with an edition of the Liturgical forms of 1552; a facsimile reprint appeared in 1973. FB suggests that copies are also present in Geneva (G02, IHR) and Vienna (W06, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek). It should be checked, whether in these cases not a facsimile is taken for an original. The catalogue of G02 (ref. 7283; MHR (06 e (551)) refers to the 1973 facsimile; the catalogue of W06 only refers to a microfilm of a 1552 edition with the same title (MF 301; 78.X.74), but perhaps St Andrews had access to other parts of the Vienna library as well.
[24] The total number of entries for the period 1523-1543 in ‘Bible-AT-Psaumes’ is 27 (FB 4578 – FB 4604).
[25] Checking the dating of one particular edition of Marot’s Adolescence Clementine (François Juste, 23 February 1533 (Mayer # 13, FB 36594), this impression was confirmed. FB 36594 suggests reading 1533 as 1534 nouveau style. This makes a scholarly impression, but in fact contradicts all scholarship. In bygone days the date of this edition (23 February 1533, i.e. before Easter) was almost always automatically changed to 1534, assuming that it was ancient style (Picot-Rothschild, n° 597), but since the discovery in 1926 of an augmented (and thus posterior) edition of the same work by the same printer dated on 12 July 1533 (Mayer # 14bis), it is an established fact that ‘1533’ should be considered nouveau style, i.e. referring to 23 February 1533. After having discovered the July edition, the Marot bibliographer, Pierre Villey, immediately published an article correcting the chronology in his own bibliography: “Il ne faut donc pas – comme j'ai eu tort de le faire sur la foi d'E. Picot – comprendre pour la première de ces éditions: février 1533 ancien style, mais bien: nouveau style.”. In a footnote: “On sait d’ailleurs que les imprimeurs lyonnais datèrent souvent en style nouveau.” (P.Villey, ‘A propos d’une edition de Marot’, Revue du seizième siècle 15 (1928), p. 156-160, there p. 156). For a recent assessment, see Jeanne Veyrin-Forrer, ‘Les Oeuvres de Clément Marot: Questions bibliographiques’, in Humanism and Letters, ed. Ph. Ford and G. Jondorf (Cambridge, 1996), p. 152-169, in particular p. 153-154. A similar error occurs in FB concerning the 1535 edition (Mayer # 31, FB 36613 suggests 1536).
[26] As an example, I once more refer to the online database of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century prints published in Geneva, Lausanne and Neufchatel: GLN 15-16:



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