The Danse Macabre: Printed by Guyot Marchant, 1485

MRTS Texts for Teaching, Vol. 7

The Danse Macabre: Printed by Guyot Marchant, 1485

Translated by David A. Fein
2013 | 64 pp. | 17 ills. | 978-0-86698-495-9 | Paperback 6 x 9 in
MRTS 446 | $25 | £19 |

Although one of the earliest visual representations of the danse macabre was destroyed over three centuries ago, a successful printer, Guyot Marchant, decided to publish a copy of the images and the accompanying inscription in 1485. The little volume quickly sold out, and was succeeded by a series of subsequent editions. Although the contribution of Marchant’s book to the spread of the danse macabre throughout Western Europe during the next few decades cannot be clearly delineated, the transformation of the murals into a portable version can only have accelerated the popularity of these images and their accompanying text. Despite its importance as a cultural artifact, as a transformative vehicle facilitating the spread of the danse, and as a powerful articulation of the late medieval preoccupation with human mortality, Marchant’s book remains relatively unknown to those unable to read it in the original. This translation is intended to make the work accessible to a wider audience.