BOCCACCIO, Giovanni.. Il Decamerone di m. Giouanni Boccaccio nuouamente corretto et con diligentia stampato.

Florence, eredi di Filippo Giunta il vecchio., 1527

Quarto (194 x 131 mm.), [8] leaves, 284 pages with woodcut printer's device on title-page and on verso of last page. Lightly washed, contemporary manuscript annotations on tile-page and inital pages, overall a very good copy bound by Traut-Bauzonnet in red morocco, gilt arabesque on covers, spine in compartments with gilt title and ornaments, gilt edges.The superb Ventisettana – one of the most famous, handsomely-printed and philologically accurate editions of the Decameron. ‘The best edition produced until that moment; it has long been much esteemed among bibliophiles […]. Although less rare than the 1516 Giunti edition and many others of the time, it is very difficult to find, especially in good condition' (Brunet I, 998-99).One of Florence's literary talents, the poet and humanist Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-75) devised his Decameron probably after the notorious plague of 1348. Completed in 1353, it is a collection of 100 short stories in the vernacular, told in the course of ten days by a group of young women and men who have taken refuge in a villa outside Florence to escape an epidemic. To pass the time in the evenings, they tell tales of love, wit and tragedy, whether adapted from traditional folklore or borrowed from medieval works and even from unusual sources like translations of Persian and Arabic literature.This edition, especially cherished in 16th-century Florence, was printed in the year in which the Medici rule was temporarily overthrown by the republican forces. Several of the scholars involved in the making of the Ventisettana, including Pier Vettori, Bernardo di Lorenzo Segni and Bartolomeo Cavalcanti, were themselves opposers of the Medici, a political circumstance which probably determined the work's subsequent rarity (Gamba, Delle novelle, 16). The scholars revised Delfino's 1516 Venetian edition by collating the text against further authoritative manuscripts, including the 14th-century Mannelli scribal copy, preserved at the Laurenziana. Only in 1761 did another edition, based entirely on the Mannelli manuscript, supersede it.According to Renouard, ‘few books have become as esteemed and valuable as this volume […] considered, as soon as it appeared in print, as the prototype, the obligatory model for all future editions' (‘Notices', 93). In 1729, since the edition had become so scarce, the bibliophile and art collector, Consul Joseph Smith, famously commissioned a type facsimile in 300 copies from the Venetian printer Pasinello. It is notoriously of fine quality, so much so that Brunet (I, 999) felt the necessity to list the differences and help his bibliophile-readers to tell them apart. EDIT16 CNCE 6271; Brunet I, 998-99; Gamba, Delle novelle italiane in prosa, 14-17; Renouard, ‘Notices sur la famille des Juntes', 93. WorldCat locates 11 copies in the US (Xavier, Huntington, Pierpont Morgan, UCB, Delaware, HRC, UCLA, Claremont, Brown, Williams, UPenn). B. Richardson, ‘The Textual History of the Decameron', in Boccaccio : A Critical Guide to the Complete Works, ed. V. Kircham et al. (Chicago, 2013), 41-52.


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