G. Holonii Catharina,

HOLOGNE Gregoire de (1556.)


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tragoedia [in 5 acts and in verse] de fortissimo S. Catharinae virginis, doctoris & martyris certamine. ff. [40 (last blank)], Antwerp: (Aegidius Copenius Diesthensis for) Jean Bellère, 16 Kal Jul.[16 June]) 1556

Bound with

Ibid: Lambertias. Traegoedia [in 5 acts and in verse] de oppressione B. Lamberti Traiecten. quondam ecclesiae...episcopi & martyris, etc. ff. [40], (Ibid 11 Kal. Iun [ 22 May ), f. J. Bellère 1556

Bound with: Laurentias, tragoedia [in five acts and in verse] de martyrio constantissimi Levitæ D. Laurentii Romæ sub Decio passi. ff. [35(ex 36, lacking title-leaf)] ( Ibid 8 Id. Jun. [6 June], f. [ J. Bellère], 1556)

Ibid: Laurentias

3 works in 1 volume 8vo (150 x 89 mm) 18th century sprinkled calf.

These three plays, printed at the same press for the same bookseller over a period of just less than a month, are by Holonius or Grégoire de Hologne (1531-1594), who taught for a number of years at the College of Saint-Barthélemy in Liège, and wrote these plays for his students. As he tells us (preface to Lambertias) Hologne was the nephew of the humanist Lambert de Hologne, a correspondent of Erasmus (one letter see Contemporaries of Erasmus< n> ii, 197-198).

Lambertias has a dedication to Charles de Berlaymont, knight of the Golden Fleece, whose three sons (Louis, Jean and the youngest Lancelot) Hologne taught, and who themselves also receive dedicatory epistles in the three plays. The plays are witten in Latin verse in the manner of Seneca (but influenced as their author says by Christus patiens of Gregory Nazianzenus), and all have a heavy Christian and counter-reformation message: the prologue to Laurentias, for example, speaks of the plays of the ancients and how 'Longe magis par credidimus esse, & decens Nos Christianos Martyrum Christi decus, Quocunque, licet humili, poemata edere'.

The play on St. Catherine lays stress on her learning and quietly contrasts it with the lack of learning of so many of the clergy. She was also in the mid 1570s the subject of an enormously long play (it last 8 hours and needed a huge cast) by the Jesuit Johannes Sonhovius. The other subjects are St. Lambert (martyred in AD 708), who clearly has a more local ring to him, and St. Laurence, who was commanded by the Roman emperor Decius (mid 3rd century AD) to reveal the treasures of the church (he revealed the poor and needy). In all cases the stories seem to be taken from the Legenda aurea. Laurentias was reprinted in Srassbourg by Wyriot in 1584 (copies in BL, Augsburg & Zurich).

For the work on St. Catherine, see the article by J.C. Margolin in Helmantica 1999, vol. 50, no 151-53, pp. 477-511. See also J.B. :Parente 'Counter-Reformation Polemic and Senecan tragedy: the Dramas of Gregorius Holonius' in Humanistica Lovaniensia 30 (1981) pp. 156-180.

In the UK the BL has the three plays, and one is in Cambridge. OCLC lists only Harvard and Yale as having all three. The first play, Laurentias, lacks the title-page.

Bibliotheca Belgica H164, 165, 167; Belg. Typ. 1476-1478; BMSTC (Dutch & Flemish), p. 97.

Stock Code: 42239

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