Recueil des plus belles lettres de Cicéron

Cicero, Paris, 1641

Richelieu was the patron for this volume of Cicero’s letters published under the auspices of the Académie Française.  It was dedicated to Honoré Courtin, a royal councillor.

The editor and translator of the work, Antoine Du Breton, praised the usefulness of Cicero’s orations as exemplars of prose style, drawing a parallel between the Roman politician and the  ‘only rival that Cicero may have in this century’,  the French author Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac.  Balzac was regarded in his lifetime as the master of French prose, his work a union of urbane, witty expression and cogent analysis of salient moral and political concern. 1

  1. See Emmanuel Bury, ‘Savoir vivre ou savoir parlet: Les ambiguïtés du modèle cicéronien de l’honnêteté’, ed. Alain Montandon, L’ Honnête Homme et le dandy (Tübingen: Narr, 1993), 19-34, on p. 26.

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