From SiefarWikiEn

Jump to: navigation, search

Entry by Rémi Jimenes, 2009

The date of birth of Charlotte Guillard is not known: Beatrice Beech locates it in all likelihood between 1482 and 1486; Charlotte Guillard must have been in fact between fifteen and twenty years old for her first marriage in 1502. Her family was from the Maine region, but it was in Paris that she married the printer Berthold Rembolt, an associate of Ulrich Gering who kept shop in the rue de la Sorbonne with the insignia of the Soleil d'Or [Golden Sun]. In 1508, when Gering retired after forty years of practice, Rembolt continued the business, taking his insignia and printing presses to a house on the rue Saint Jacques, next to the Saint-Beloit church; his workshop was not to be moved anymore, and was where Charlotte Guillard would live for fifty years.

Widowed in 1518, Charlotte remarried in 1520 the bookseller Claude Chevallon, who settled in rue Saint Jacques with her. Immersed in the humanist spirit of his time, he radically transformed the editorial production of the studio. From the middle of the 1520s, he specialized in printing the works of the Greek and Roman Fathers of the Church, correcting and improving the text of the editions given by Erasmus: within ten years, works by Jean Chrysostome, Amboise, Augustine and Jérôme were published in Paris. Collaborating with numerous Parisian humanists, Chevallon succeeded in elevating the Soleil d’Or as one of the indispensable references for scholarly theological publication.

When he died in 1537, Chevallon left his widow a famous studio, a solid collection for the bookshop and an important network of correspondents, including leading figures such as Jean de Gagny, Godefroy Tilman or Antoine Macault. From then on, Charlotte Guillard made decisions about editorial orientation, and planned her production. She not only, as was often the case, reproduced the Chevallon Catalogue by reprinting formerly published works, but she also enlarged this catalogue by printing neglected texts. Thus, an edition of Pacien Barcelone’s writings was published in 1538, followed later on by the works of Hilaire de Poitier (1544), Tertullien (1545) and Basile (1547). From 1537 to 1556, Charlotte published 193 different editions under her name (‘apud Carolam Guillard, sub Sole aureao’). The Soleil d’Or remained one of the most prosperous publishing places in Paris. The economic success of the company was undeniable; and Charlotte, who did not bear any child, knew how to share the profits with her relatives. Her nephews Jacques Bogard, Guillaume Guillard, Sébastien Nivelle and Guillaume Desboys, all bookshop owners started their careers at the Soleil d’Or. Charlotte Guillard was generous, granting them many gifts and financial support. Guillaume Desboys, her nephew by marriage, even became in his own right her main associate in 1547.

Her actual managerial role within the workshop is still difficult to assess. Her level of education is not known, and it is not clear whether she knew how to read Latin. Only one text was signed with her name: the Latin preface of Jacques Toussain 's Lexicon Graecolatinum (1552) might have been translated by one of the sub-editors of the workshop from a French original manuscript. Otherwise, what is clear is that she did not make her editorial choices on her own. Louis Miré (Ludovicus Miraeus), a humanist with a solid theological education, who hunted down manuscripts, rummaging in libraries to collate old texts, called himself the ‘manager of the typographical workshop’ (typographico prael praefectus) in the preface of the Saint Basile edition. Scholars working for the studio, as well as her nephews, might too have influenced the editorial choices of the widow. She died at the beginning of 1557, before July.

With her long career, the importance of her business on the editorial and intellectual level, and the quality of her production, Charlotte Guillard features as a major figure in Parisian book edition of the XVIth century. Since Chevillier, historians of French bookstores have noticed the style and the accuracy of her books, while recognising the atypical trajectory of her career. The article published by Béatrice Beech in 1983 (see infra, selected biliography) gave historians a fuller and more accurate picture of Charlotte Guillard’s life. Nevertheless, the humanist and religious contribution of her production is yet to be more fully explored. Future studies will be needed to further our knowledge on the subject.

(translated by John Sconder)

Selected bibliography

- Beech, Beatrice, « Charlotte Guillard : A sixteenth Century Business Woman », Renaissance Quarterly, no 3, New-York, The Renaissance Society of America, 1983, p. 345-357.

- Dumoulin, Joseph, « Charlotte Guillard, imprimeur au XVIe siècle », Bulletin du Bibliophile et du bibliothécaire, Paris, Techener, 1896, p. 579-584.

- Jimenes, Rémi, « Pratiques d’atelier et corrections typographiques à Paris au XVIe siècle : les œuvres de Saint Bernard publiées par Charlotte Guillard », colloque Passeurs de texte : les imprimeurs humanistes, École des Chartes, Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève, Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance, mars 2009 [actes à paraître fin 2010].

- Jimenes, Rémi, « Charlotte Guillard au Soleil d’Or (1502-1557) : étude bibliographique », thèse de doctorat sous la direction de Marie-Luce Demonet [en cours de rédaction].

- Renouard, Philippe, Répertoire des imprimeurs parisiens, libraires, fondeurs de caractères et correcteurs d’imprimerie, Paris, Minard, 1965.


- «Nous donnons place parmi les Imprimeurs corrects à charlotte Guillard, femme celebre dans l’Imprimerie, qui a surpassé toutes celles de son sexe dans la pratique de ce grand Art, s’étant signalée par un nombre considérable de bonnes Impressions fort estimées, qu’on garde curieusement dans les Bibliothèques. […] Elle écrit en l’année 1552 qu’elle soûtenoit les fatigues & les grandes dépenses de l’Imprimerie depuis cinquante ans, […] ce qui montre que cette genereuse femme partageoit aussi le poids de cette profession dans le mariage. Digne veuve, à qui on peut avec verité appliquer ces paroles de l’Ecriture: Panem otiosa non comedit [Prov., XXXI, 27 : « elle ne mange pas le pain de l’oisiveté »]. » (André Chevillier, L’Origine de l’imprimerie de Paris, Paris, chez Jean de Laulne, 1694, p.148-149)

– «The life of Charlotte Guillard demonstrates that at least some women of the middle class in sixteenth-century Paris had more active and varied business careers than hitherto thought, despite the many handicaps under which they labored. […] The fact that she was capable of managing her property and business must mean that she had received a far greater training in the legal, financial, managerial, and marketing skills than we have direct evidence for, or which we normally assume women received. […] Her output was not the largest, but the quality of her books, both from the standpoint of aesthetics and contents, put her in the same category as Estienne, Badius, Plantin, and Morel, considered to be some of the great scholar printers of the sixteenth century». (Beatrice Beech, «Charlotte Guillard...», voir supra, Choix bibliog.)

Marque guillard.JPG
Spouses Berthold Rembolt
Claude Chevallon
Birth date About 1484
Death 1557
Biographical entries in old dictionaries
Personal tools
In other languages