1547, Lyons: JEAN DE TOURNES

Jean de Tournes and Guillaume Rovillé were two of the most important publishers in Lyons, France, one of the major centers for printing during the Renaissance. Both demonstrated great enthusiasm for the vernacular literature of Italy written in the "lingua Toscana ..." (the Tuscan language), as de Tournes wrote in the preface to his 1545 edition of Petrarch: "... tanto estimata massimamente nella corte del nostro gran syre..." (... so esteemed, especially in the court of our great king ...). De Tournes was speaking of the highly Italophile court of Francis I, but it is safe to say that Italian literature by this time had become a model for the rest of Europe as well.

Dante's poem had already appeared in Lyons in the counterfeit Aldines ofthe century's first decade. Jean de Tournes and Rovillé mark, however, a more sustained period of Dante's fortune in France, beginning with Jean de Tournes' Il Dante of 1547. De Tournes is generally considered the most accomplished printerin Lyons during the period; his books are distinguished by the elegance of their characters, the layout of text, the beauty of their figures and capitals, as well as by the clarity and neatness of typography.