We have seen how the publishers of Troyes reprinted the Parisian Danse Macabre through more than 200 years with copies and copies of copies of the old woodcuts.
The book to the left is a rather late reprint by Baillieu of Paris. According to the short preface, Baillieu had these woodcuts from Troyes in his possession, which he intended to combine with the original text from Guy Marchant's book from 1486, Miroer Salutaire.
The various publications from the 18th century had constantly announced how they had renewed and polished the old Gaul language: »Historiée et renouvellée de vieux Gaulois, en langage le plus poly de nôtre tems«. In contrast this book was going to follow the original text from 1486, although with the addition of punctuation and accents, which didn't exist (or had been neglected) in 1486.
Of course Baillieu was aware that there was a long way from this book to the original, but it had become increasingly hard for book-lovers to find the old books from the 15th and 16th century. Such a book had just been sold, 19th April 1862, for the crazy sum of 1,170 francs.(1) Thus we also get approximate age of this book, for the publication date is not mentioned anywhere.
The book has the title: »La grande danse macabre des hommes et des femmes, précédée du dict des trois mors et des trois vifz, du débat du corps et de l'âme, et de la complaincte de l'âme dampnée«. One might wonder why the dance of death is »précédée« by the other stories when it's at the beginning of the book, but Gallica has another copy (see external link), which includes some sort of advert. In this insertion it says more logically: »La grande danse macabre […] suivie du dict des trois mors […]«.
The result is not an exact copy of "Miroer salutaire", which apart from the queen and duchess didn't have images for the women. The individual sections do not come in the same sequence and all Latin texts have been removed.
Baillieu has had access to both the good copies from the 17th century and the bad ones from the 1766-edition, for he uses two versions of the four cadaver musicians.
There are also two woodcuts of the lawyer and suitor, the best of which is used for the astrologer and citizen, just like it was done in the 1766-edition.
When it comes to the women's dance, the book has been tidied up, so both text and images come the right sequence.
Incredibly enough, Baillieu has found a copy of the abbess and noblewoman (picture to the right), in spite of these two dancers having been absent from more than 200 years. He also features a woodcut of the regent and knight's wife (picture to the left), which is neither from the copies from the 17th century nor from the copies of the copies from the 1766-edition. These two woodcuts seem to have been produced by the same hand.
The woodcut of the spinster and Franciscan nun is still missing, but Baillieu had two copies of the citizeness and widow (pictures left and right).
The book ends with a (bad) image of Death on the pale horse, and the date for the publication of Miroer salutaire, 1486 7th June, except that a "quatre" is missing: »l'an de grace mil quatre cent [quatre] vingz et six, le septième jour de juing«.
The book was reprinted by Plein Chant / Bassac in 1994.
They have corrected the confusion about précédée/suivie: »La Grande Danse Macabre des hommes et des femmes Suivie du dict des trois mors et des trois vifs du débat du corps et de l'ame, et de la complainte de l'ame dampnée«.
But even though they claim they have reprinted the book from 1862, »Réimprimé d'après l'édition de Baillieu, Paris «, this is not the case. The two samples they show use the good copies from the 17th century, while the 1862-book (in these two cases) used the bad copies from the 1766-edition.
This edition must have been quite popular because there are many online version on the Internet. Here are but two:
On a side note the shop with the expensive book, Salle Sylvestre, belonged to Louis-Catherine Silvestre.