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A: Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Jean de Vigne's "La légende dorée", the First Book Printed in French

4/18/1476
<p>Miniature from an illuminated manuscript in The Morgan Library &amp; Museum of the <em>Golden Legend</em> translated into French by Jean de Vignay, produced in Bruges, 1445-1465.&nbsp;MS M.672-5 III, fol. 310r. de Vignay's translation was the one printed in the first book printed in French in 1476.</p>

Miniature from an illuminated manuscript in The Morgan Library & Museum of the Golden Legend translated into French by Jean de Vignay, produced in Bruges, 1445-1465. MS M.672-5 III, fol. 310r. de Vignay's translation was the one printed in the first book printed in French in 1476.

Having learned the printer's art in Venice, printer Guillaume LeRoy set up a press in Lyon, France, at the expense of his financial backer, Bartholomieu Buyer. They located the press in Buyer's house. There, on April 18, 1476 LeRoy completed the printing of Jean de Vigne's (de Vignay's) La légende dorée, a French translation of Jacobus de Voragine's Legenda aurea sanctorum, sive Lombardica historia (The Golden Legend) edited by Jean Battalier. Voragine's collection of the legendary lives of the great saints of the medieval church was one of the most popular religious works of the Middle Ages. Because the text was in much demand it was a good commercial choice for the first book printed in French; LeRoy became the first printer in Europe to specialize in printing books in the vernacular.

Drees, The Late Medieval Age of Crisis and Renewal 1300-1500 (2001) 286.

ISTC no. ij00151700 cites only three copies in England and three in France, of which two are incomplete.

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