Adrien Gambart's Emblem Book (1664); - The Life of St. Francis de Sales in Symbols
Place Published: Philadelphia
Publisher: Saint Joseph's University Press
Date Published: 2005
Book ID: 3
386 pages + foreword and index of emblems | 8.75 x 5.75 inches | 113 images
This volume includes the late Elisabeth Stopp's previously unpublished study of the emblem book of Adrien Gambart (1660-68), an introductory essay by Agnès Guiderdoni-Bruslè that updates and supplements Stopp's work, and a facsimile of Gambart's emblem book. This remarkable book was inspired by the life and writings of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), and written for the Sisters of the Visitation monastery of Faubourg Saint-Jacques in Paris, where Gambart, a Vincentian priest, served as chaplain for over thirty years.
Gambart's emblems visualize many of the literary images that Francis employs in his writings, as well as draws on other popular sources of the emblematic tradition. By means of the emblems, Gambart seeks to identify in a tangible and memorable way for the reader the truly remarkable qualities of Francis's life and the exceptional elements of Salesian spirituality. Such a method, Gambart points out, is in keeping with Francis's own profuse use of images and symbols to communicate his spiritual doctrine as concretely and clearly as possible.
Each emblem invites the reader to reflect on an episode from Francis's biography or on one of his particular virtues. One emblem is provided for each of the fifty-two weeks of the year and is explained by an explanatory meditation, which is then followed by seven points for prayer and resolution, one for each day of the week. Gambart called these points Fruits et pratiques (Fruits and Practice), a summary, as it were, of what was to be learned from meditation on the emblematic picture.
Stopp's study offers an English translation of the key observations made by Gambart about each of the fifty-two emblems, while the facsimile makes available Gambart's original French text. Moreover, the facsimile is reproduced in color in order to convey the tonal richness of the original emblems.
Terence O'Reilly, ed.
Essay by Agnes Guiderdoni-Brusle
"This edition of Gambart's emblem book is an important contribution to emblem studies at several levels. It approaches what could be considered an ideal edition of an emblem book. It is a beautifully produced facsimile preceded by an English paraphrase of the essential contents of the book to make it accessible to non-specialists. In addition, it contains a substantial introduction by an emblem specialist (Guiderdoni-Bruslé) that situates the work within the context of seventeenth-century spirituality and emblematics. […] This beautiful and carefully produced edition of Gambart's Vie Symbolique de St. François de Sales is not only a suitable homage to St. Francis and Salesian spirituality, but a well-deserved tribute to Elisabeth Stopp's valuable contribution to Salesian studies."
Pedro F. Campa, Sixteenth Century Journal
"This is a welcome addition to the growing range of emblem books now available in facsimile editions. Gambart's La vie symbolique du bienheureux François de Sales is one of the most visually attractive of works. […] The modern edition takes as its base material left by one of the very early emblem scholars, Elisabeth Stopp. The context for her study is unique. […] Of greatest interest in both Stopp and Guiderdoni-Bruslé's introductory remarks is the analysis of the way in which the symbolic discourse of the emblems corresponds to St. Francis de Sales' own thinking and metaphorical expression (itself corresponding to Christ's use of parables), and the very tenets of his faith. […]"
Alison Adams, Renaissance Studies
"This handsome volume reproduces the first part of Gambart's La vie symbolique du bienheureux François de Sales in the original size of the first edition in French (Paris, 1664). The exceptionally high quality of the facsimile owes much to the use of colour photography. […] For the present-day specialist reader, Agnès Guiderdoni-Bruslé's stimulating and finely nuanced essay expands observations made by Elisabeth Stopp, providing a very well-researched update and much more, in considerable depth, describing and illustrating the literary, cultural, biographical, and Christological contexts of Gambart's emblem book."
Susan Sirc, Society of Emblem Studies Newsletter
"[A] work of the greatest importance […] that offers an exposition that goes beyond the usual parameters of a book of this kind to shed new light on key aspects of spirituality and religious life during the second half of the seventeenth century in France. […] Terence O'Reilly publishes in this book an important study prepared by Elisabeth Stopp, Fellow of Girton College and University Lecturer at Cambridge University […] this is followed by an English translation of the emblems of Gambart, preceded by a very clear and complete introduction. […] an indispensable study by Agnès Guiderdoni-Bruslé, of the Université Catholique de Louvain. […] The second half of the book is comprised of a splendid facsimile of the 1664 edition of Gambart's emblem book that is identical in format, color, and laid paper to the original."
Hélène Bordes, La Lettre de RES [Recherches et Etudes Salésiennes]
"Until quite recently, the only early modern Catholic emblem book to be reprinted was Herman Hugo's Pia desideria of 1624, the most popular of all emblem books. […] Hence, this well-presented new edition of Adrien Gambart's Vie symbolique du bienheureux François de Sales comes as a very welcome addition to the works at our disposal. […] Readers can appreciate and understand this important emblem book better by referring to the context provided by the catalogue of the exhibition of Catholic emblem books originally mounted in conjunction with the Emblemata Sacra conference in Leuven in January 2005. This catalogue was developed and published in conjunction with the exhibition's venue at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. […] Both of these handsome volumes have been produced with great care; high-quality color reproductions almost give the impression that one is looking at real emblem books. Together with these high-quality reproductions, the clear and knowledgeable commentary makes these two books as good an introduction to early modern Catholic emblem books as one is likely to find anywhere."
Daniel S. Russell, Renaissance Quarterly
"Two beautifully produced new books from Saint Joseph's University Press [Emblemata Sacra: Emblem Books from the Maurits Sabbe Library, Katholieke Univesiteit Leuven, and Adrien Gambart's Emblem Book (1664)] will introduce you to the visually symbolic world of emblem books and, more intriguingly, to emblematic thinking, an important expression of early modern Christian humanist culture. […] The second half of the Gambart book contains a handsome facsimile of the original, produced with the remarkable care and quality for which the press is noted. […] These two handsome books provide scholars and students with valuable insight into emblems and emblematic thinking and thus the spiritual consciousness and practices of early modern Catholicism, insights not possible through textual analysis alone."
Wendy M. Wright, Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality