Villon: A Concordance of Modern Editorial Traditions

While many view the corpus of Villon's oeuvres as a settled issue, anyone who makes a historical probe will see a cannon that has been shifting by suggested and accepted additions and subtractions from the era of the first printed editions. One has only to examine the controversy arising in 1832 from the hundreds of lines added in the published edition where the editor (J. H. R. Prompsault) claimed to have used manuscripts for the first time. It should come as no surprise that Prompsault's claim was wrong, and that a similar discussion might have taken place nearly ninety years earlier had Nicolas Lenglet-Dufresnoy published the revolutionary edition he was preparing. Modern critical editions are no exception. Villon's first documentary biographer and philologist, August Longnon. Whose eclectic and reasoned edition (1892) is the headwaters of a tradition, which was revised in 1913 by Lucien Foulet with a small number of suggested readings by André Lanly in 1970. This series of editions has an order of Poésies Diverses, based on a biographical timeline of Villon's life and works, and takes the "texte intégrale" as an overall position on inclusion for stanzas in the Lais and Testament. In the last revision cited, I quote from Foulet's outline of the edition plan: " Nous avons estimé avec G. Paris qu'il n'y avait pas intérÉt à réimprimer ici les ballades en jargon, qui sont mieux à leur place dans un recueil de documents de l'argot ancien." (xix).

Articles by Félix Lecoy and D. M. Stewart and a small scholastic edition by Prof. Barbara Sargent may have been influential in persuading a recent generation of philologists and editors to adopt a Bédieriste, or best manuscript method, with C (MS Paris BNF fr 20041) as the chosen source. This gave rise to a new editorial tradition in the five-volume edition of Jean Rychner and Albert Henry. Rychner-Henry offers sixteen Poèmes Variés. They are presented in a different order from those of the Poésies Diverses of the Longnon-Foulet tradition, based on revised dates of composition, on the elimination of PDvi ("Rondeau - Jenin l'Avenu") from the canon and the inclusion of PViii ("Ballade franco-latine").

The recent bilingual edition (middle and modern French), by Jean-Claude Mülhethaler and Eric Hicks † is more strictly Bédieriste than is Rychner-Henry. For example, in the Lais, the text is presented with considerably fewer departures from the readings of best-manuscript C, and where Mülhethaler controls for missing text he does so using F , in contrast with the more eclectic approach of Rychner-Henry. Finally, Mülhethaler observes the scribal "Explicit le Testament maistre Francoys Villon" which incorporates the "Epitre a ses amis" and the "Ballade au nom de la Fortune" into the end of the Testament. He then lists the Poésies Diverses by source C (i, ii) F (iii, iv, v, vi, viia, viib, viii), O1 (ix, x, xi), H (xii, xiii), Ch1 (xiv), J (xv) [source identification. see Mülhethaler-Hicks, 26-30). Where there is much evidence in favor of the inclusion of Villon's Jargon, reasons for its exclusion since Marot's edition (1533), can be classed either under moral priggishness or literary snobbery.

Eric Hicks presents "Le jargon et le jobelin" using the same order as all of the separate editions of these works: the five poems of the early printed tradition (beginning with the 1489 Pierre Levet edition) (1489), followed by the six poems of manuscript F.

The inter-tradition concordance below the bibliography is meant to bridge what can occasionally be a gap of confusion in line numbering and order of poems. It locates lines by text, stanzas or whole works by titles or incipits. I have placed the coordinates of Rychner-Henry, because most citations are either to it or to editions and translations adopting its agenda. PD = Poésies Diverses, PV = PoĆmes Variés, L = Lais, T = Testament, JJ = Le Jargon et le Jobelin



Prompsault, J. H. R. Oeuvres de maistre François Villon, corrigées d'après plusieurs manuscrits qui n'étoient pas connus... Paris: Béthune 1832.

For Lenglet-Dufresnoy: Peckham, Robert D. "A la Recherch d'un Villon perdu: Pour une histoire de sa réception au XVIIIe siècle." In François Villon et ses lecteurs. Actes du Colloque international (13-14.12 2000 Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris). Textes édités par Jean Dufournet, M. Freeman et Jean Dérens. Collection: Colloques Congrès et Conférences sur le Moyen Age. 5. 71-88. Paris: Honoré Champion, 2005.

Lecoy, Félix. "Notes sur le texte ou l'interprétation de quelques vers du Testament de Villon." Romania 80, no. 4 (1959): 493-514.

Stewart, D. M. "The Status of the Versions of Villon's Testament. In Studies in Medieval French Presented to Alfred Ewert in Honor of His Seventieth Birthday. Ed. E. A. Francis. 150-64. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1960.

Villon, François. Le Testament et les poésies diverses. Ed. Barbara Nelson Sargent. Series in Medieval French Literature. New York: Appelton-Century-Crofts, 1967.

Longnon, Auguste Honoré et Lucien Foulet, éds. François Villon, Oeuvres. 4e éd., nouveau tirage, suivi de notes par A. Lanly. Paris: H. Champion, 1970.

Rychner, Jean et Albert Henry, éds. Le Testament Villon. Textes littéraires français, 207-208 [texte et commentaire]. Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1974.

Rychner, Jean et Albert Henry, éds. Le Lais Villon. Textes littéraires français, 239-240 [texte et commentaire]. Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1977.

Rychner, Jean et Albert Henry, éds. Le Testament Villon ; Le lais Villon et les poèmes variés. Index des mots, index des noms propres, index analytique. Textes littéraires français, 335. Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1985.

Mühlethaler, Jean-Claude et Eric Hicks, éds et trs. Lais, Testament, Poésies diverses, ballades en jargon, édition bilingue. Champion Classique - Editions bilingues - Série Moyen Age, 10. Paris: Honoré Champion, 2004.



A Concordance of the

 Longnon-Foulet, Rychner-Henry, & Mühlethaler-Hicks Editions 


titles / incipits / lines

   Epître à Marie d'Orléans
   B. du concours de Blois
   B. franco-latine
   Request à Monsieur de Bourbon
   B. des proverbes
   B. des menus propos
   B. des contre vérités
   B. contre les ennemis de la France
   B. de bon conseil
   B. au nom de la fortune
   B. des pendus
   Epître à des amis
   Débat du cuer et du corps de Villon
   Quatrain
   [variation sur le Quatrain]
   B. de l'appel
   Request à la cour du Parlement
   Rondeau - Jenin l'Avenu
   A Parouart, la grant marthe gaudie
   Coquillars enaruans a Ruel
   Spelicans
   Saupicquez frouans des gours arquez
   Joncheurs jonchans en joncherie
   Contres de la gaudisserie
   A Parouart, la grant matte gaudie [jjvii]
   Vous qui tenez voz terres et fiefz
   Ung gier coys de la vergne cygault
   Brouez, benards, eschecquez a la saulve!
   De devers quay par ung temps d'ivernois,
   Item, au Chevalier du Guet
   Et a maistre Jacques Raguier
   Item, a maistre Jehan Mautain
   Item, a Jehan Trouvé, boucher
   Paisibles enfans, sans estry
   Humbles, bien chantans au lectry
   Car s'en jeunesse il fut plaisant
   Or luy convient il mendïer
   (Quelle fus, quelle denevue!)
   Que me regarde toute nue


   Rychner-Henry

   PVi
   PVii
   PViii
   PViv
   PVv
   PVvi
   PVvii
   PVviii
   PVix
   PVx
   PVxi
   PVxii
   PVxiii
   PVxiv
   ----
   PVxv
   PVxvi
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   L145-52
   L153-60
   L161-68
   L169-76
   L221
   L220
   T429-36
   T437-44
   T489
   T488


   Longnon-Foulet

   PDviii
   PDvii
   ----
   PDx
   PDii
   PDiii
   PDiv
   PDv
   PDi
   PDxii
   PDxiv
   PDix
   PDxi
   PDxiii
   ----
   PDxvi
   PDxv
   PDvi
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   ----
   L169-76
   L145-52
   L153-60
   L161-68
   L220
   L221
   T437-44
   T429-36
   T488
   T489


   Mühlethaler-Hicks

   PDix
   PDx
   PDxi
   PDxii
   PDiv
   PDviii
   PDiii
   PDxiii
   PDxiv
   T2060-95
   PDi
   T2024-59
   PDv
   PDviia
   PDviib
   PDii
   PDvi
   PDxv
   JJi
   JJii
   JJiii
   JJiv
   JJv
   JJvi
   JJvii
   JJviii
   JJix
   JJx
   JJxi
   L145-52
   L153-60
   L161-68
   L169-76
   L221
   L220
   T429-36
   T437-44
   T489
   T488




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bobp@utm.edu
TennesseeBob Peckham
Director, The Globe-Gate Project
University of Tennessee-Martin
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