DE LA BONTE ET MAUVAISTIE DES FEMMES.
Paris: Lean Dallier, 1566. Exceedingly scarce second edition (First published in 1564). 8vo, 76, (1) page. Bound in contemporary full limp vellum, handwritten title on the spine, previous owner's name on top of the title page, dated 1580, 20th May. Binding a bit discoloured. Very light dampstain to top of last 15 pages, otherwise a fine copy. Printed in Roman lettering with italic side notes. BM STC, Fr. Supplement"p. 53. Adams (lists editions of 1571, 1586), Not in Gay; Brunet III, p. 1407; Tchemerzine or Hull, Chaste, Silent & Obedient. Kanner, The Women of England, p. 176; OCLC lists just the 1586 edition (at Rutgers). (Item ID: 54696)
A country gentleman, born in 1540, Marconville was a prolific writer of popular philosophical works. In this obscure work, he discusses female virtues and vices and their consequences for man, with the aid of examples drawn from history. This is one of the few works that provide an accurate picture of the attitude of men towards women during the French Renaissance. ."Jean de Marconville's paradox On the Goodness and Badness of Women, 1564, devotes a whole chapter to the 'Excellence of women and their ingenious inventions'. He starts out by praising life in a community, the invention of letters, the creation of law and the invention of the clock. He isolates the invention of letters as the most important one because it allowed the preservation of ideas: things that happened a thousand years ago are present to us'. He asks: but who was the inventor of such great benefit to humankind? Was it the philosophers and wise men of times past?'. Marconville singles out Carmenta, also known as Nicostraté, as the inventor of letters and writing. Ceres receives credit for the invention of law and 'without [law] no household, no cities, republics or communities nor the world itself' could exists at all. Isis invented agriculture, Pallas invented spinning and making cloth. Marconville ponders the 'singularité' excellence or peerlessness, of 'their great minds' and claim that 'celestial favours' were more 'excellently granted' to women than to men." (Warner, The Ideas of Man and Woman in Renaissance France)." Marconville published several treatises on the subject of women and marriage, the present being both the most famous and the rarest.