STERNE, Laurence (FOSCOLO, Ugo, tr.)


STERNE, Laurence (FOSCOLO, Ugo, tr.). Viaggio sentimentale di Yorick lungo la Francia e l’Italia. Traduzione di Didimo Chierico [i.e. Ugo Foscolo]

 Pisa, dai torchi di. Gio. Rosini, 1813.


FRIST ITALIAN EDITION, 8vo, PRESENTATION COPY FROM FOSCOLO TO GIOVANNI LESSI, inscribed on half-title “A Giovanni Lessi/ Ugo Foscolo/ Candidamente Dona/ Firenze MDCCCXIII”, engraved portraits of Sterne and “Didimo Chierico” (Foscolo), uncut in nineteenth century vellum, spine gilt with red morocco title label.

Ugo Foscolo, original name Niccolò Foscolo, (1778, Zakynthos, Venetian republic [now Zákinthos, Greece]— 1827, Turnham Green, near London, England), poet and novelist whose works articulate the feelings of many Italians during the turbulent epoch of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the restoration of Austrian rule; they rank among the masterpieces of Italian literature. Foscolo, born of a Greek mother and a Venetian father, was educated at Spalato (now Split, Croatia) and Padua, in Italy, and moved with his family to Venice about 1793. There he moved in literary circles. In 1797 the performance of his tragedy Tieste made him famous. Foscolo’s early enthusiasm for Napoleon, proclaimed in his ode A Bonaparte liberatore (1797), quickly turned to disillusionment when Napoleon ceded Venice to Austria in the Treaty of Campo Formio (1797). Foscolo’s very popular novel Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis (1802) contains a bitter denunciation of that transaction and shows the author’s disgust with Italy’s social and political situation. Some critics consider this story the first modern Italian novel. When the Austrians and Russians invaded Italy in 1799, Foscolo, with other Italian patriots, joined the French side. Made a captain in the Italian division of the French army after the defense of Genoa in 1800, he had commissions in Milan, Bologna, and Florence, where he found time to involve himself in many love affairs. Finally Foscolo was sent to serve in France (1804–06). During that period he translated some classical works and Sterne’s Sentimental Journey, into Italian and wrote odes and sonnets. The dedicatee of the present copy was Foscolo’s friend Giovanni Lessi (1743–1817), a man of letters and prestigious academician, who contributed to promote Foscolo’s version of the Iliad. In 1807 Foscolo returned to Milan and established his literary reputation with Dei Sepolcri (c. 1820), a patriotic poem, written as a protest against Napoleon’s decree forbidding tomb inscriptions. In 1808 the poem won for its author the chair of Italian rhetoric at the University of Pavia. When the chair was abolished by Napoleon the next year, Foscolo moved on to Milan. The satirical references to Napoleon in his tragedy Aiace (first performed 1811) again brought suspicion on him; in 1812 he moved to Florence, where he wrote another tragedy, Ricciarda, and most of his highly acclaimed unfinished poem, Le grazie (published in fragments 1803 and 1818, in full 1822). In 1813 Foscolo returned to Milan. Napoleon fell the following year, the Austrians returned to Italy, and Foscolo, refusing to take the oath of allegiance, fled first to Switzerland and then in 1816 to England. Popular for a time in English society because he was an Italian patriot, Foscolo supported himself by teaching and writing commentaries on Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch for The Edinburgh Review and The Quarterly Review. He died in poverty. In 1871, with great national ceremony, his remains were moved from England and interred in the church of Santa Croce, in Florence.

CASTIGLIONE, Baldassare (CHAPPUYS, Gabriel)

CASTIGLIONE, Baldassare (CHAPPUYS, Gabriel, Tr.). Le parfait courtisan

Paris, Par Nicolas Bonfons, 1585.


8vo, ã8 ê8 a-z A-V8, pp. (xxxii) 678 (=658) (xxx). Double column, French in Roman letter, Italian in Italic. Printer’s device on title page with motto: “proba me deus et scito cor meum” (Psalm 138:23). C19th ms. note on title page “Monneraye / Monneraye / bon garçon”, with name “Monneraye” appearing occasionally throughout the book on margins. Paper evenly yellowed because of aging, occasional small wormholes to outer and lower blank margin, no loss to text. Some light dampstaining and spotting, edges of initial leaves slightly worn. Rebound in modern vellum with yapp edges.

This is an early French translation of this greatly renowned work of Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529). Castiglione was an Italian courtier, diplomat, soldier and a prominent Renaissance author. He was born at Mantua, where he served the Gonzaga family, then moved to Urbino in the service of its duke, Guidolbaldo da Montefeltro. In 1506 he was in England to receive the Order of the Garter for his master from Henry VII. In 1524 he went to Spain as papal envoy; he died there in 1529, universally mourned. Finished in 1518, the book sets forth in a series of dialogues the author’s conception of the ideal courtier and the norms of courtesy in a cultured society. Kendall Tarte has shed light on the influence of this work on the French culture of the time in relation to another similar work, especially with regard to the role of women: “La Puce de Madame des-Roches offers a complex portrait of one woman. The book’s fictionalized accounts of Catherine’s body, her expressions of virtue, and her participation in salon activities help the modern reader imagine the Poitiers community of the late sixteenth century. The poets of that group engage with contemporary codes of conduct in their renderings of the salon interactions. Portraits of Catherine Des Roches reflect an idealized view of women, and in her poems Des Roches adopts a stance suggested by such guidelines. A consideration of contemporary conduct books will illuminate the ideas that set the tone of interactions between sexes. Of particular importance are contemporary works that deal with codes of conversation between men and women, and that discuss specifically the question of the speech of women. Two Italian texts, Baldassare Castiglioni’s Libro del Cortegiano, or The Book of the Courtier, and Stefano Guazzo’s Civil Conversatione, provide guidelines for women in polite society. First published in Italian in 1528, Il Cortegiano was enormously influential throughout Europe. The first French translation, by Jacques Colin, appeared in 1537 at King François I’s request. Another translation, Gabriel Chappuy’s 1585 bilingual edition, testifies to the book’s popularity throughout the sixteenth century. Castiglione’s directives for the conduct of the courtier and his lady-in-waiting apply to the parallel situation of sixteenth-century humanist salons. Despite the obvious class difference, the Poitiers group resembles the Italian court in its makeup – both consist primarily of men – and its social practices, which place special emphasis on speech.” Kendall B. Tarte, Writing Places: Sixteenth-century City Culture and the Des Roches Salon, 2007.

 BM STC Fr. C16th p. 94 

MARCELLINO, Evangelista

MARCELLINO, Evangelista. Della metamorfosi cioè trasformazione del virtuoso libri quattro.

Florence, Nella Stamperia de’ Giunti, 1583.


8vo, 331, [xiii], †8 A-V8 X4. Italic letter, a little Roman. T-p with small vignette of Florentine lily and between two putti; same vignette on verso of last leaf with additional motto in cartouche: “in domino confido”. Decorated initials, small tailpieces. Some browning and occasional spotting throughout, especially on initial and final leaves. Rebound in C19th vellum over boards, visible ties, gilt spine with labels. Blue marine pastedowns, orange silk bookmark. Bookseller’s label on front pastedown: “Libreria di Luigi de Romanis, Piazza di Sciarra sul Corso, N° 319” (Rome).

Evangelista Marcellino (1530-1593) was a Franciscan monk, chronicler of the order and writer, nee Lorenzo Gerbi. Born in San Marcello Pistoiese, he died in Rome. He used the pseudonym Lorenzo Selva. This is a rare novel, only five copies census on the public Italian libraries. Passano I, 364: “questo libro, pubblicato sotto il pseudonimo di Lorenzo Selva è un romanzo degno in molte parti, della elegante penna del Firenzuola”.




OVID. Metamorphoses argumentis brevioribus ex Luctatio grammatico collectis expositae, una cum vivis singularum transformationum iconibus in aes incisis.

Antwerp, Ex officina Plantiniana, Apud viduam, & Joannem Moretum, 1591.


FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION. Oblong 8vo, pp. 361 (xxiii), A-Z8, a8, final blank. Italic letter, some Roman, sporadic Greek. Title within elaborate engraved border divided in four sections with figurative scenes from the poem, portrait of the author and 178 full-page plates; plate number 176 (p. 357) bears the signature of the artist Pierre Van der Brocht. Printer’s device on Z5 showing God’s right hand descending from the heavens and holding a compass with motto in cartouche: “labor et constantia”. Clean tear from top towards centre of leaf to Q3, small wormholes to lower margin of final quires, no loss of text. Each leaf of the book is alternated with a blank leaf on which appears a ms. C19th English translation, or paraphrase, of Lactantius’s “argumentum”, or abstract, up to Fable IX, Book 1. In C19th half calf and marbled paper over boards, brass clasp and catch, gilt spine with title and initials “J.B.”

This 16th century Antwerp production weds Ovid’s Metamorphoses with grammatical explanations in order to teach Latin to the young. The text is an anonymous adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which was first attributed to pseudo-Donatus and then to pseudo-Lactance. In the manuscript books of the Middle Ages, it is sometimes drawn close to the Ars Minor, which was written by the grammarian Aelius Donatus. The dedication of the printer addresses two young children, Luis and Martin Perez de Baron.

Adams, O504; Belgica Typographia, 3913; BRETZIGHEIMER, Studien zu Lactantius Placidus und der Verfasser der Narrationes Fabularum Ovidianarum, 1937; Delen II, 92-93; Funck 374-375; F.W.H. HOLLSTEIN, Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts Vol. III, 100 nrs. between 200-377; Rooses, p. 263; STC Dutch, p. 164.


CAMILLI, Camillo

CAMILLI, Camillo. I cinque canti…aggiunti al Goffredo del signor Torquato Tasso.

Ferrara, Appresso Giulio Cesare Cagnaccini, & Fratelli, 1585.


12mo, pp. 181 (=151) (1), † b-f12 g4. Predominantly Italic letter, some Roman. Woodcut initials and head-pieces, large d’Este coat of arms on title-page. Light age yellowing and spotting throughout, marginal dampstaining. Imprint repeated on verso of last, no date, early ms. note underneath it. In modern quarter vellum, decorative paper over boards, gilt-tooled lettering on half olive green, half red morocco label to spine. A lovely booklet in good condition.

First printed in 1584, this booklet is the second edition of Camillo Camilli’s additional five cantos, or poems, to the Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Delivered, 1581) of Torquato Tasso (1544-95). Camilli (d. 1615) was a scholar from Siena who taught letters in the Republic of Ragusa (Dalmatia). He edited a reprint of Tasso’s masterpiece in 1583 with the title of Goffredo, to which he added the present work in order to develop and conclude the love stories of the characters Armida and Rinaldo and Arminia and Tancredi. Camilli’s prefatory letter addresses his dedicatee, Matteo Senarega, who held important political offices in the Republic of Genoa, becoming doge of this maritime power in 1591. Senarega studied law in Louvain and Latin in Venice, where the famous printer Paolo Manuzio was his tutor. Camilli mentions the efforts made by the then chancellor and saviour of the Republic in order to prevent further clashes of civil war between the old nobility (the Doria, Cicala, Spinola, Di Negro, Vivaldi, Cattaneo, Lomellini, Grimaldi families) and the new nobility, whose party had seized the power in the oligarchy. Camilli praises Senarega’s diplomatic skills and tells the reader he learnt from Aldo Manuzio the Younger that the former doge retired to private life, after his successful political manoeuvres. Moreover, Manuzio told Camilli that Senarega enjoys the pleasure of reading poetry, which is the reason why the writer decided to dedicate this work of his to Senarega. Before the first canto begins, Camilli included some celebrative verses dedicated to the great poet Tasso, written by Francesco Melchiori from Oderzo.

 Adams C451; USTC 818083; EDIT16 41545.

CICERO, Marcus Tullius

CICERO, Marcus Tullius. Officiorum libri tres, Cato maior, vel De senectute, Laelius, vel De amicitia, Paradoxa stoicorum sex, Somnium Scipionis ex dialogis De republica. Cato item, et Somnium Graece, observationes.

 Venice, apud Bartholomaeum Zanetum Casterzagensem, 1538.


8vo, ff. (xi) 129 (xi) 29 (i), a8 b4 A-I8 K4 L8 M10 N-O8 P4 Q10 R6 S4 T6 A-D8. Italic and Greek letter, some Roman. A student’s schoolbook copiously annotated by three different early hands at least. Sketch of a coat of arms enclosing a fountain and ownership notes on title page, of which the latest two, probably C17th and C18th, are easily readable (“Gabriel. Ottobon” and “Gioan Batista Fontana”). No pastedowns. Inner covers, front and rear endpapers show extensive annotations and scribbles, especially by Fontana, who left his purchase note, and several quotations and maxims from classical authors, such as Cicero, Pliny, Martial, Livy, Horace and Polydorus, mainly on Justice and moral teaching. Blank T6 bears register and imprint without date on recto, plus a couple of ms. acronyms and an enthusiastic note: “viva la signora Orsolina Barbaro mia patrona oservandissima”, which is written backwards in two different manners, exalting a certain lady Barbaro who seemed also to have been patron to this student. Imprint repeated in Greek also on last. Initial quires waterstained to lower outer margin, also affecting front cover, no text loss; final quires with waterstaining to lower outer page corners. In contemporary limp vellum, visible ties, ink title to spine, caps slightly defective, lacking laces. An interestingly annotated copy in good condition.

This school handbook is a selection of Cicero’s works, which gathers together De officiis (On Duties or On Obligations), De senectute (On Old Age), De amicitia (On Friendship), Paradoxa stoicorum sex (Six Stoic Paradoxes) and the Somnium Scipionis (The Dream of Scipio), which is a part of the sixth book of De re publica (On the Republic, which is mostly no longer extant); plus the editor’s observations. A Greek translation of De senectute and the Somnium are found at the end. De officiis is divided into three books, which expound Cicero’s conception of the best way to living, behaving, and observing moral obligations. The essay was written in the form of a letter to his son Marcus. De senectute is also called the Cato Maior. In order to lend his reflections greater import, Cicero wrote his essay such that the esteemed Cato the Elder was lecturing to Scipio Africanus and Gaius Laelius. In De amicitia, Cicero writes about his own experience with friendship. Cicero ponders the meaning of friendship by using the relationship between Scipio Afriacanus and Laelius to expound his views. The Paradoxa Stoicorum attempts to explain six famous Stoic sayings that appear to go against common knowledge. Lastly, Scipio’s dream is a fictional vision of victory against the Punics set two years before general Scipio oversaw the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC. The book also includes an initial letter from the editor, the humanist Paolo Magnolo, to his addressee, the Bishop of Brescia Andrea Cornelio. Magnolo’s “observationes” contain all Cicero’s references to Greek authors, such as Plato, Aristotle and Xenophon. Most of these are based on the excellent earlier Aldine editions on the orator’s works.

HUTTEN, Ulrich von, et al.


HUTTEN, Ulrich von, et al.. Duo volumina epistolarum obscurorum virorum,…

Rome, s.n. (=Frankfurt am Main, David Zöpfel), 1557.


12mo, ff. [252], A-X12. Two volumes in one. Roman letter. First title within floriated borders, second on K5r with no borders, no imprint (fake place of publication on last) and a short poem exhorting the reader to forget about sadness and grief, and laugh at everything. Two woodcut initials, one for each volume at the beginning of the text. Title page slightly soiled, marginal yellowing. Marbled pastedowns, bookplate of the Harvard College Library (“the Gift of Mary Bryant Brandegee in Memory of William Fletcher Weld”) to front pastedown. T-p and first leaf with blind letterpress of the Harvard University Library. In late C19th gilt-ruled calf with embossed diamond-shaped floral decoration at centre, title on red morocco label to gilt spine, inner dentelles, a.e.g.

This is a pocket reprint of the Letters of Obscure Men, a celebrated collection of satirical Neo-Latin letters, which appeared between 1515–1519 in Hagenau, Germany. The collection was soon forbidden by the Catholic Church, since the letter supported the humanist Johann Reuchlin and they mock the doctrines and modes of living of the scholastics and monks, mainly by pretending to be letters from fanatical Christian theologians discussing whether all Jewish books should be burned as un-Christian or not. The work was based upon the real public dispute between Reuchlin and certain Dominican monks, especially a formerly Jewish convert who had obtained Imperial authority to burn all known copies of the Talmud in 1509. The title is a reference to Reuchlin’s 1514 book Letters of Bright Men, a collection of learned letters from eminent scholars such as von Hutten, Johann Crotus, Konrad Mutian, Helius Eobanus Hessus, and others, to show that Reuchlin’s position in the controversy with the monks was approved by very erudite men. The present letters are written in a deliberately bad Latin. Most of these letters are addressed to the German scholar and theologian Ortwin and contain mock accusations against him. The collection was published anonymously, and the authorship has been a fertile subject of controversy, but the main portion of the letters are attributed to the humanists Joahnn Crotus, Ulrich von Hutten, Erasmus, and Reuchlin. The work is credited with hastening the Protestant Reformation.

 Edit 16 CNCE 51186: “Contraffazione tedesca stampata probabilmente a Francoforte da David Zopfel”; VD16 E 1726; Benzing, Hutten 247.


CARO, Annibale [with] CASTELVETRO, Ludovico


CARO, Annibale. Apologia de gli Academici di Banchi di Roma, contra messer Lodovico Castelvetro da Modena. In forma d’uno spaccio di maestro Pasquino, con alcune operette incluse, Del Predella, Del Buratto, Di ser Fedocco. … [with] CASTELVETRO, Ludovico, Ragione d’alcune cose segnate nella canzone d’Annibal Caro. Venite a l’ombra de gran gigli d’oro.

 Parma, appresso Seth Viotto, 1573.


8vo, two works in one volume, Roman and Italic letter, head- and tailpieces. 1) ff. (viii) 120, †8 A-P8. First word of title within headpiece, vignette of an unicorn confronting snakes, verso of t-p with large vertical device showing a flintlock for rifles and, above, a broken spear and a knotted rope with motto: “vim vi”. 2) †4A-Y8 Z4 (S2r blank, last three leaves of first quire † with the table of contents bound at the end of the book). Title page with large vignette of a unicorn fighting snakes (one bears wings) within elaborate border and the Farnese family motto: “virtus securitatem parit”, Fletcher’s autograph repeated; verso of t-p with Castelvetro’s device: an owl perched on top of a toppled urn with the Greek inscription “KEKPIKA”, “I have judged” (Tung, 1110). The image closely resembles the figure on the reverse of the Athenian “New Style” tetradrachm (on this, see Amaral, Jr., 388-390). In worn C19th calf over boards, spine richly gilt with lettering on red morocco label. Fresh and clean copies of two interesting second editions.

Annibale Caro (1507-66) was a man of letters who long served the Farnese, the rulers of Parma. In 1553, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese requested that he wrote a song in praise of the royal house of France, which was published with the title Venite all’ombra dei gran gigli d’oro (“Come to the shade of the great golden lilies”). The humanist Ludovico Castelvetro (1505-71), a sympathizer of the Reformation close to the heterodox circle of Modena, who later joined the Italian Protestants emigrated to Switzerland, soon opposed Caro’s song. This originated a twenty-year dispute, which involved aspects of the contemporary debates on language and literary models. Caro initially ignored Castelvetro’s criticism, publishing also a commentary on his song. However, Castelvetro reiterated his negative judgment in his Replica to the commentary and in other short texts, which caused Caro to publish his Apologia in 1558. This work was a violent polemic and attach to Castelvetro not only from a literary point of view, but also from a religious standpoint. Caro questioned the already dubious orthodoxy of his rival. Castelvetro replied in 1559 with his Ragioni. “Then Caro enlisted the support of Benedetto Varchi, who prepared a first draft of a response as early as 1560, but his dialogue, the Ercolano, remained unpublished until 1570. Varchi aimed at discussing broader issues of linguistic relevance, not at a mere refutation of Castelvetro’s arguments. But Castelvetro’s response, Correttione [1572], rejects Varchi’s position and indeed expands the controversy to include his handling of dramatic dialogue as a genre.” Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies: A-J, 2007, p. 406.

This copy has a notable provenance: it is from the library of the Scottish patriot Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun (1655-1716), with his distinctive “Fletcher” signature on both title pages.

EDIT16, n. C-1623 de C-2012. BMC 150 (second work only). Adams C-739 (Only the first work). Gamba, 276 e 1297, notes. Razzolini, p. 88. Cfr. Tiraboschi, Biblioteca Modenese (I, 440 et seq.) and Storia della Letterat. ital. (VII, 1695 et seq.)

BEMBO, Pietro

BEMBO, Pietro. Prose di Monsignor Bembo.

Venice, [Comin da Trino], 1540


8vo. A-O8. 112 leaves. Italic and Roman letter. Historated initials, headpieces. Alternate prose and verses. Light thumb marks on title page, page edges a little browned, ink thumb mark on margin at foot of D4, not affecting the text, blank verso of last leaf a little soiled. Elegantly rebound in early C20th brown morocco by the bookbinders Birdsall & Son of Northampton with gilt double framing along cover edges, containing fleurons, and elaborate gilt oval at centre of covers. Inside gilt dentelles. Spine divided in five gilt compartments. Title to spine. A very fine, clean and crisp copy in excellent state. A.e.g.

Known as Prose della Volgar Lingua (“Discussions of the Vernacular Language”), this is the second edition of one of the most-renowned work devoted to the Italian language. It first appeared in 1525. This linguistic guide has been fundamental to the establishment of a common Italian language based on the Tuscan vernacular. Great humanist and undoubtedly skilled man of letters, Pietro Bembo (1470–1547) was a Cardinal and today he is considered one of the noble fathers of modern Italian.

“In the Prose, Bembo codified Italian orthography and grammar, essential for the establishment of a standard language, and recommended 14th-century Tuscan as the model for Italian literary language. His view, opposed by those who wanted Latin and by others who wanted a more modern Italian as the model, had triumphed by the end of the 16th century.” Encyclodaedia Britannica

Adams, I, 109. NUC, 754.




Köln, Excudebat Ioannes Gymnicus, 1543.


8vo, 32 unnumbered leaves, A-B8 Γ-Δ8. Predominantly Greek type, very little Roman and Italic. One woodcut initial. A few early marginalia in Greek (emendations), small repair to margin of B1. Page edges slightly worn and soiled. In modern blue half morocco and marbled paper over boards, lettered in gilt to spine, two raised bands.

Isocrates, (436-338 BCE), ancient Athenian orator, rhetorician, and teacher whose writings are an important historical source on the intellectual and political life of the Athens of his day. The school he founded differed markedly in its aims from the Academy of Plato and numbered among its pupils. “Isocrates’ concern with the moral basis for power also appears in the three other so-called Cyprian orations, which should be read in conjunction with the Evagoras. In the To Demonicus, assuming that it is genuine, Isocrates advises his addressee through a series of traditional maxims, familiar from Hesiod, Solon, and Theognis, somewhat loosely strung together. Not surprisingly, piety (1.13), justice (1.15 and 38-39), moderation (sôphrosynê) (1.15), and self-control (enkrateia) (1.21) figure prominently. In this work, Isocrates gives advice to Demonicus both as a private citizen, telling him to emulate the character of kings (1.36) and as a future ruler, instructing him to govern fairly and justly (1.37-39). In the To Nicocles, which is also full of traditional gnomic maxims, likewise somewhat loosely organised, Isocrates addresses himself more specifically to the moral virtues necessary for the ideal ruler…Throughout, Isocrates advices that a successful ruler must voice be a moral ruler. In the third Cyprian oration, speaking through the voice of Nicocles himself, Isocrates gives the flip slide to the moral virtues necessary to the ideal by showing how the behaviour of the subjects in the ideal state ought to correspond in moral virtue to that of the leader” Frances Pownall, “The Moral Education of the Elite”, in “The Politics of Orality” (Craig Richard Cooper, Ed.), 2007, p. 239.

 Not in BM and Adams. Hoffman vol. II, p. 746.