Parma, in Aedibus Palatinis, typis Bodonianis., 1793

In folio (492 x 325 mm.), I - [2] leaves, 266 pages, [4] leaves, XLI pages; II – [2] leaves, VIII pages, 340 pages. Contemporary marbled bords with two original orange boxes with morocco lettering pieces. A very fine set.An exceptional copy of one of Bodoni's masterspieces, one of the twenty-five printed on papier d'Annonay. This edition caused Bodoni much displeasure. Firmin Didot, brother of Bodoni's rival Pierre, in a letter addressed to Paul Henry Marron, published in the Magasin Encyclopedique volume V (1794) wrote: “Il paroit, Citoyen, que vous n'avez cherché à decouvrir les fautes dans les éditions de Pierre Didot, que pour consoler Bodoni: mais la reputation de B.est faite; ses livres tiendront, sans doute, un des premiers rangs dans les bibliothèques des amateurs; mais ils seront exclus de celle de Savans. Il est temps, citoyen, quel es hommes de lettres, se réunissent contre les imprimeurs négligens qui croient avoir tout fait lors qu'ils ont employ de beaux caractères et de beau papier, et qui regardent la correction des textes comme des bagatelles…C'est la correction qui a rendu fameuses les éditions des Aldes, celles de Robert Etienne…” This letter ends with the famous statement against Bodoni: “Comme littérateur, je condamne ses éditions, comme typographe je les admire.” This accusation - in his letter Firmin Didot listed 37 philological mistakes in the Virgil - hurted Bodoni for a long time; in 1799 he wrote to his patron de Azara that he as a typograph “ non ambiva al titolo di uomo di lettere, ma erasi limitato a meritarsi un posto distinto nel breve elenco degli artisti operosi e preclari; e che non aveva aspirato mai ad altra gloria che a quella di aver dato potente impulso in Italia e fuori, per richiamare il buon gusto e la primigenia semplicità tipografica che tanto si ammira nelle edizioni del secolo XV”.‘Monumental edition [...] The typographic design of Bodoni's Virgil is one of the highlights of neoclassicism: the layout is geometric and the letters seem to swim in a sea of white. The printing is perfect in all technical aspects'. (Lommen, The book of books, London, 2012)


Brooks 486; Giani pp.45-46.


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