La Fiammetta del Boccaccio per messer Tizzone Gaetano di Pofi, novamente revista.

Toscolano Maderno, P. Alex. pag. Benacenses, F. Bena, (Alessandro Paganino), 1520.

£4,250

8vo. ff. 107, (i). A-N8, O4. Italic letter. Capital spaces with guide letters, ms. capitals added, early acquisition note of ‘Jo. Antonius Culletus, 1573’ on recto of last, another version at head of title, dated a year later, Graham Pollard’s acquisition note in pencil on rear pastedown, at Hodgsons in 1954 for £3/10s, C19th bibliographical note on verso of last. Light age yellowing, minor marginal water-stains in places, the odd thumb mark, title fractionally dusty. A very good copy, in lovely contemporary black morocco, covers gilt and triple blind ruled to a panel design with interlacing gilt rules in central panel, small gilt stars, moons, and fleur de lys, to corners, large gilt fleuron at center, spine with three raised bands, head and tail of spine expertly restored, all edges gilt and richly gauffered, slightly rubbed and cracked in places, eps. old but later.

Beautifully bound copy of this rare edition of Boccaccio’s Fiammetta, finely printed in Paganino’s Italic, in imitation of the Aldine. The binding is similar in design and use of tools to a folio binding from Rome illustrated in De Marinis vol. I 833 plate CXXXVIII, though inevitably a simpler version in octavo. It is quite simple but very striking and elegant, most appropriate for the text and printing within.

“In what has been called the first psychological novel in a modern language, “the Elegy of Lady Fiammetta”, (Boccaccio) successfully bridged the gap between allegory and introspective narrative by giving shape to a character who encompasses realistic and archetypal qualities. Scholars agree on the date of composition of The Elegy of Lady Fiammetta established between 1343 and 1345. Boccaccio was in his early thirties and was trying to make a name for himself in Florence, as a citizen and Poet, after having spent many years in Naples. The work is generally recognized as a turning point in his career. The large number of manuscripts of the Elegy – over seventy – seems to prove its popularity in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. As the first psychological novel in a modern language and a forerunner of stream-of-consciousness fiction, the Fiammetta is one of the earliest and most remarkable, if still largely unexplored, artistic achievements of European literature. The extraordinary nature of the Elegy stems partially from the crucial fact that it was created by a man who writes pretending to be a woman. Furthermore, this woman, the Lady Fiammetta, writes in the first person and announces herself from the very outset as an unspoken feminist.” Mariangela Causa-Steindler.

Paganino was a most interesting and innovative printer who saw Aldus Manutius as his inspiration. He was the first printer of the Qur’an, printed entirely in Arabic, for export. “Even more interesting [of the followers of Aldus] was printer-publisher Alessandro Paganino of Toscolano, whose admiration for Aldus became a strong stimulus to achieve something new in the field of typography. Although Brunet defined the so-called “Paganini” type as bizarre, there were actually no less than five distinct designs. They reflected the successive phases of a graphic study intended as the progressive assimilation of the Roman and italic types. Pagnini’s laborious experimentation resulted in an archaic imprint that influenced not only the design of type but the entire graphic composition of the page.

Indeed it was Paganini who had recognized Aldus’s commitment to innovation as an example worthy of being followed”. Luigi Balsamo. “One other name – that of Alessandro Paganino – calls for special notice, on account of his peculiar upright italic type. Paganino set up his press first of all at Toscolano, on the Lake of Garda, but subsequently removed to Venice, and printed there down to the year 1531.” H Brown, ‘The Venetian printing press’.

A lovely copy with most appropriate combination of text, binding and printing. 

BM STC It. C16th. p. 108. Brunet I 1009. Not in Adams or Gamba.

L1521

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