Paris and Viana

Paris and Viana Facsimile Edition

Barcelona (Spain) — Ca. 1497

A precious artifact from the beginning of Spanish literature: the only surviving copy of an erotic romance set against the background of the Crusades

  1. This erotic-chivalric novel was written by an anonymous Catalan, it is a rare early specimen of Spanish literature

  2. This precious codex was published ca. 1497 in the Barcelona print shop of Diego de Gumiel (active 1494–1517)

  3. The 60-page text, printed in Gothic script, is adorned by floral initials and full-page woodcuts in red and gold ink

Paris and Viana

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Paris and Viana

The only surviving copy of a romance set against the backdrop of the Crusades: Paris and Viana is a precious artifact from the dawn of Spain’s literary tradition. Although the author is not known, the work was published in seven languages including this Catalan edition printed by Diego de Gumiel in Barcelona ca. 1497. According to Pierre de la Cypède, the French version was translated from Provençal, which was in turn translated from an original text in Catalan. However, it is still debated which version of the tale is authoritative. The love story between the knight Paris and the princess Viana enjoyed great popularity during the Middle Ages. It is filled with the exciting tournaments, acts of chivalry, sentimental letters, and romantic speeches that one would expect from a medieval adventure story.

Paris and Viana

This erotic-chivalric novel was written by an anonymous Catalan and published ca. 1497 in the Barcelona print shop of Diego de Gumiel (active 1494-1517). Originally titled Historia delas amors e vida del cavaller Paris e de Viana filla del dalfi de França, it takes the form of a simple fable of constant and persecuted love set in the familiar context of the Crusades and forced captivity in Palestine. The only surviving copy of the incunabulum, an early printed book predating 1501, is housed in the Biblioteca de Catalunya. The 60-page text, printed in Gothic script, is adorned by floral initials and full-page woodcuts colored with red and gold ink. The work is hardbound with gold engraved leather on the spine and is a beautiful and rare artifact of Spain’s burgeoning literary tradition.

A Carolingian Romance

The tale is set during the reign of the Emperor Charlemagne and is concerned with Paris, a sixteen-year-old who is in love with Viana, the daughter of the Dauphin, a title that did not come into use until the 14th century. To prove his worthiness, Paris wins numerous jousts on her behalf without revealing his identity, but of course she eventually finds out and declares her love for him as well. Her father rejects Paris and plots to kill him so the lovers are forced to run away, but Viana fails to escape and Paris only has a diamond given to him by Viana to remind him of her. While Paris is in exile in Genoa, Viana is arranged to be married to the son of the Duke of Burgundy and is imprisoned by her father when she resists. After a Crusade is called against the Sultan of Babylon, the Dauphin is captured while acting as a spy. Paris poses as a Muslim and frees the Dauphin in exchange for marrying his daughter and becoming heir to his lands.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Paris und Viana
Historia delas Amors e Vida del Cavaller Paris e de Viana Filla del Dalfi de França
Size / Format
64 pages / 19.5 × 12.5 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
Ca. 1497
Style
Language
Script
Gothic
Illustrations
Several large-format woodcuts, numerous decorative initials with ornaments in red and gold
Content
Erotic chivalric romance
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Paris and Viana – 10-V-38 – Biblioteca Nacional de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) Facsimile Edition
Vicent Garcia Editores – Valencia, 1997
Limited Edition: 3160 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Historia delas Amors e Vida del Cavaller Paris e de Viana Filla del Dalfi de França

Vicent Garcia Editores – Valencia, 1997

Publisher: Vicent Garcia Editores – Valencia, 1997
Limited Edition: 3160 copies
Binding: The facsimile with parchment binding on wooden board comes in a cloth-covered case with gold-engraved leather spine.
Commentary: 1 volume by Antoni Ferrando Francés
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding. The facsimile was printed on specially made laid paper.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
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