La Morosophie  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

La Morosophie (Macé Bonhomme, 1553) is a book by Guillaume de La Perrière.

The Morosophie was published some 16 years after La Perrière composed his first emblem book, and its paradoxical title, playing on the opposed concepts of wisdom and folly in Greek, reflects the approach of a more mature and sophisticated writer than the La Perrière of the earlier Theatre des bons engins. In his preface La Perrière stresses the ingenuity and wit that are required to produce a bilingual emblem book in which each 4-line Latin verse is translated into an equivalently succinct 4-line French verse without loss of sense, and places his work in a more classically inspired context than his earlier straightforwardly moralising Theatre, citing Homer in a nutshell as his inspiration for such brevity. Although primarily a vernacular writer, La Perrière composed the Morosophie verses in Latin initially, and then translated them into French. Unlike other early bilingual Latin/French emblem books by French writers which were made available in alternative editions, either in French or in Latin, but not in both at the same time (Aneau’s Picta poesis / Imagination poetique or Coustau’s Pegma / Pegme), the Morosophie was published in one single bilingual version with Latin and French text printed on the same page, facing the woodcut illustration. --Alison Saunders.

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