On the previous page we saw how Nicolas Oudot published a Danse Macabre in Troyes ca. 1600, using the original woodcuts from Paris.
The book to the left was published a few years later in the same town by Noël Moreau dit le Coq, but all the woodcuts are copies of the Parisian blocks. This is also true for the four cadaver musicians on the front page that we have known and loved since 1486. They are copied with skill and detail, but when compared with the original, it's clearly a rough copy. The pillars at the sides and the arcades above have been removed.
The exemplar that belongs Harvard's library (see external link) has been misbound, and the G-sheet (i.e. eight pages) has been placed before the D-sheet. The result is that just when the dead king and the authority are about to finish the men's dance, the story is interrupted by five pages of the women's dance and three pages of La dance aux aveugles.
Apart from this defect the content is identical to those publications that Troyes had known ever since Nicolas le Rouge brought the original Parisian woodcuts to the town at the beginning of the 1500s. If we compare Noël Moreau's 1610-edition with Nicolas le Rouge's 1531-edition, they both contain:
The text displays those idiosyncrasies that we're used to see in Troyes: One line is missing in the cardinal's and the king's speeches; Death's answer to the hermit is missing, and just before the dead king and the authority, the dance is interrupted by a black man blowing a horn, and the poems »Dictz des Trespassez« and »Rondeau« (picture to the right).
In this exemplar the interruption is especially violent since, as mentioned, eight other pages are inserted at this point.
The greatest differences are with the little stock images towards the end of the book, which the publisher seems to have regarded as "fillers" with one religious stock image being as good as another.
In fact it is odd how closely Moreau has copied the 1531-edition. If we instead look at the book Nicolas Oudot published ca. 1600, i.e. only ca. 10 years before Moreau's book, the differences are far greater: »Le debat du Corps & de l'Ame« has been printed more compactly and only takes up six pages instead of nine; 11 ekstra lines are added to the »Exhortation de bien viure« by "l'Autheur"; an extra chapter is added: »Les signes precedens du iugemens general« (not to be confused with »Quinze signes« or »Le iugement«); and at the end there are 1½ pages with »Dictions et proverbs«.
So Moreau's book is quite identical to the 1531-edition. But the woodcuts are copies and particularly those in the beginning are quite good.
The book on the left was published by Nicolas Oudot, but in all probability it's not the same Nicolas Oudot, who published the original woodcuts ca. 1600. Presumably the previous book was published by Nicolas I Oudot (ca. 1565-1636), while the present book was published in 1641 by the son, Nicolas II Oudot (1616-1692).
But it is not only Nicolas Oudot, who has changed. The woodcuts have been replaced by those that Noël Moreau had published in 1610, and the address is the one Moreau used to have: Ruë nostre Dame, à l'Enseigne du Coq, ("The Street of Our Lady at the sign with the rooster"). Bibliothèque Nationale de France guesses that Nicolas II Oudot has been the son-in-law of Noël Moreau since he could take over workshop and materials.(1)
However, this doesn't explain what happened to the old Parisian woodcuts, and there is one exception: The authority (picture to the right) is the original woodcut from 1491, but compared with the original image, the top, right corner and the entire right side has been replaced. The pillar has been moved left.
As mentioned two woodcuts had been missing since 1531, and these are still missing in this version. Noël Moreau and Nicolas II Oudot have not been able to copy those woodcuts that had disappeared.
The woodcut with the abbess (with shepherd's crook) and the knight's wife is missing. Nicolas Oudot the Elder had instead chosen to use the image of prioress and young woman and then interchange prioress and young woman with the shepherdess and the woman with crutches in order not to use the same woodcut twice in a row.
Nicolas II Oudot goes one step further and illustrates the moved prioress and young woman by reusing the woodcut of bride and sweet wife. Strictly speaking this means that there was no longer any reason to change the sequence, but evidently young Nicolas had forgotten why his father had once done so.
But this is only the beginning for the books were reprinted for many years to come in Troyes by the heirs of Oudot