Discours merveilleux de la vie, actions et deportemens de Catherine de Medicis Royne mere
Anonyme, Discours merveilleux de la vie, actions & deportemens de Catherine de Medicis Royne mere, Auquel sont recitez les moyens qu’elle a tenu pour usurper le gouvernement du Royaume de France, & ruiner l’estat d’iceluy, 1575.
Extrait de la présentation de l’ouvrage dans la série "The Renaissance in print", Université de Virginia
The 1575 copy of the Discours Merveilleux de la vie, actions et deportements de Catherine de Medicis Royne Mere represents the first extant French edition of a polemical pamphlet that attracted enormous attention immediately upon its publication. Issued soon after the death of Charles IX (1574), it was to all appearances written by an author who lived in Paris at the time and was thus witness to the political and religious upheavals that agitated the capital during the first half the 1570s.
Conventionally attributed to Henri Estienne – scion of the Estienne printing dynasty in Paris, Hellenist, and a reformist – the earliest extant versions of the Discours Merveilleux bear an imprint date of 1575, but the text may have been circulated in print as early as 1574.
Between 1575 and 1579, at least 9 French editions were published, and the text appeared in English, Latin, and German versions as early as 1575. Modeled satirically on a Latin “Saint’s life” or legenda, the Discours Merveilleux purports to expose the devious and perverse character of Catherine de Medici, which threatens to lead to the destruction of the French kingdom. At once an anti-Italian and misogynist assault on the Queen Mother, the Discours Merveilleux represents one of the foundational texts behind the notorious image of Catherine as the Black Queen.