ADDENDUM TO ‘EDITIONS OF THE CENTURIES inter alia’
Google books promoted a digitized version of the Iean Brotot of Lyons publication ‘Prognostications for 1555’ by Nostradamus as their first item from the Library of Lyons. By way of a general warning, the optical character recognition process employed is usually word-perfect but could cause odd errors. Patrice Guinard has this text at http://cura.free.fr/dico-a/812pro55.html
Borot is listed on Guinard’s DIAL system as the imprimatur of an astrological work of 1554 whilst Stephane Gerson’s book ‘Nostradamus: How an Obscure Renaissance Astrologer Became the Modern Prophet of Doom’ mentions Borot as one who disbelieved in the market having the capacity to support all the publications of ‘Les Propheties’ being offered. That could be one reason why his name is missing from the lists of saved editions of the Nostradamus Centuries as quoted below.
The website archive.org has the Manuel du Bibliotheque Lyonnais and their page
lists two Nostradamus items, 1555 Lyon Antoine Volant and 1572 Lyon Benoist Rigaud.
On Jacques Halbronn’s piece “Towards a Copernican revolution regarding the genesis of the Centuries”
The problem of ‘tracking and tracing’ true editions and their frequent forgeries was tackled by Jacques Halbronn in 2003. Basically Jacques was looking for a model copy, the template for extensive subsequent forgery.
The superior French Wikipedia page for NOSTRADAMUS explains (please excuse my hasty translation) “A cause of discrepancies between interpreters is that of the methods of Sixteenth Century composition printers and even single copies of these editions could differ, almost all of the editions, and do not guarantee full compliance with the original handwritten text (since lost). To add to the difficulty, some quatrains (such as X 72, giving a precise dating) are the subject of disagreements between commentators, especially as to the meanings of words.”
Along the way Dr.Halbronn, D.Litt., explores mimetics between the French and the English publishings of ‘Nostradamus’ and he notices that “the Centuries are like a language” which necessarily has its layers of meanings, some of which fail to turn up in later editions. This means that we can expect a late copy to be ‘poorer’ than the earlier ones. Of course, pale imitations have their reproductions also.
He takes pains to demonstrate that “the counterfeits that led to produce editions dated 1555, 1557, 1566, 1568 (utilize) a diachronic process more simplific compared to the editions that served as their model at least as regards those available spread between 1588 (les éditions de Paris) and 1650 (the Leiden edition)”.
It seems to him as if the cherished early editions were but brief summaries, more convoluted and partially allotted in time with diachronic leaps, missing links, when compared with the years 1588 – 1650.
He demands that “the use of dated editions between 1555 and 1568 in a biographical perspective is extremely questionable”. This is where I must politely part company with him. I believe quite the opposite. He hangs onto a long-standing historical thrust of his that some Centuries must have been written after the death of Michel Nostredame, basically by partial camp followers propagandizing the Catholic League. Of course he is persuasive, that’s his job, and as an insider he knows how to draw other academics to his mindset. He cites the present rejection of ‘Significations sur l’éclipse du 16 septembre 1559’, purportedly by Nostredame, being a work of his time. He seem to be saying ‘If this was not genuine Nostradamus then what was?’
Mario Gregorio goes some way towards this viewpoint by suspecting that the 1557 edition, so known, influenced words used by the 1555 edition, so known, always quoted as the First Edition, although he is keen to stress that this is a ‘first impression’ drawn from his statistics.
Clearly there is some trouble when ‘tracking and tracing’ the words of the Nostradamus Centuries texts one to another. Mario Gregorio (‘Mario the Great’) has looked closely at this and published his findings at
Mario calls his great effort “Analysis of the influences of the first editions of the prophecies published in XVIth and XVIIth centuries” and he is looking for words that can be traced throughout publications of Nostradame’s work. He comments
“It is extremely difficult to understand the interconnections between the various editions, this is due to the continuous adjustments between one edition to another … you can see a rough draft of the various influences”
Restricting himself to the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century’s surviving editions that were accompanied by the Preface to Cesar he takes into account, inter alia, the publications
1568 ‘Guinard A, B, C, X, Y’ (Guinard being a virtual anagram of Rigaud?)
1588 by Roffet
1589 by Ménier.
1589 by Du Petit Val
1590 by Rousseau
1597 by the Heirs of Benoist Rigaud
Iean Poyet (c.1600)
Pierre Rigaud (1600)
Pierre Chevillot (c.1611)
as well as many more up to the end of that century. Texts details are from Benazra, Chomarat, Guinard, Ruzo and other sources.
Those I’ve listed above take us up to almost 50 years after the death of Michel de Nostredame. My own investigations into the ‘Opera Nostradamus’ are usually but not always restricted to editions before M.Michel’s death in 1566 and the complete but possibly suspect Propheties/Centuries published by Benoit Rigaud at Lyons in 1568. I staywithin the prophet’s lifetime and would certainly be hesitant to go much beyond, say, 1616 as there are so many corruptions – probable misprints and possible inventions – to lead us astray as time has left its broken trails. Yet plenty of Nostradamus reserchers have based a whole body of interpretations on translations of much more recent editions than these, corruptions and all.
By selecting the recurrence of certain words from the first known edition onwards Gregorio seeks to establish a flow of influence edition-to-edition that is independent of the originating author, Michel de Nostredame. It’s an odd assembly of rungs and ladders that Mario seems to climb with ease. The words he seeks are in common atypical and his results are, he says, first impressions. He talks of these statistics of influence by an edition being reciprocal. I think to scale this height would be giddying for me as his figures also reveal flow fluctuations, dilations or expansions of the results, through time. Mario is undaunted and can suggest links between editions just from these stats alone.
To me the most important research conclusions would be about interactions between the earliest editions and, if it were possible, the time sequence of certain spellings. But I suppose that would be to miss the convoluted point altogether. Personally I would not be at all surprised if the 1568 Rigaud should prove to be the most influential of all upon subsequent publishings and the named 1555 ‘identical twins’ to be most influential upon each other! It may yet turn out to be otherwise. He suspects that the twins full influence has only come to bear once (upon the Du Petit Val 1589 edition). Further, Mario Gregorio reminds us that Jacques Halbronn has had this remote notion of a template printed edition once much abused by copyists as being the source of the 1555 First Edition (rather than the customary notion of bunches of handwritten notes sold at fairs to test the waters of commerce, now lost). But whether it be through the Law Courts or by the hands of statisticians no wit alive can prove ‘hidden assets’, i.e. may assert as indubitable that which has never existed.
(Also see the Articles AN UNNUMBERED QUATRAIN PUBLISHED BETWEEN 1569 AND 1669 and NOSTRADAMUS AND THE NINE YEARS WAR OF THE GRAND ALLIANCE)
NIGELRAYMONDOFFORD (c) 2015