Collected Poems

Venice, Aldus and Andrea Torresani, 1518


8vo, ff. 170, [2]. Italic letter; Aldine device on title and verso of last leaf; interleaved throughout (blank f. [165] replaced); a little marginal foxing, title-page a bit yellowed and upper margin of first three gatherings; small ink splash to one leaf. A good copy in a seventeenth-century Italian vellum; gilt title and year inscribed in early ink on spine; blue edges; armorial bookplate of the Maderna family from Milan by the engraver Gaetano Bianchi (1745) on front pastedown; early ms annotation and shelfmark on front endpaper; bibliographical note in French on rear pastedown, recording the price at Charles-Louis l’Héritier de Brutelle’s sale (Paris, 1802).

FIRST AND ONLY ALDINE edition. This second part of Pontano’s poems, to be paired with the first volume printed by Aldus in 1505 and reissued in 1513. The poems were amended from the princeps issued in Naples in 1505, establishing the text up to modern critical editions. Giovanni Pontano (1426-1503) was one of the most illustrious figures of the Neapolitan Renaissance. Aged twenty-two, he joined the court of Alfonso the Magnanimous and acted as political advisor for the Aragonese family until 1495. In Naples, he set up a very influential academy to which he lent his name, the still-subsisting Accademia Pontoniana. He was a distinguished Latin writer, famous for his vigorous, inventive and yet very neat style and his ability to depict facts of modern life and personal feelings. His prose treatises enjoyed a wide circulation, though he was best known as a Latin poet. This edition comprises his most original compositions in elegiac and hendecasyllabic verse. In them, he powerfully expressed his passionate emotions with warmth of colouring, intense realism and frequent erotic freedom. In De amore coniugali, Pontano addresses for the first time his love elegies to his wife instead of his lover, while De tumulis is a compendium of funerary poems depicting mythological and historical personalities as well as common people from past and present, including himself and members of his family.

This copy, sold at L’Héritier’s sale for 26 francs, is mentioned by Brunet (Manuel du libraire, IV, 807-808), who described the edition as follows: ‘Cette seconde partie des poésies de Pontanus est plus rare que la premiere, parce que les Aldes n’en ont donné qu’un seule édit.’

BM STC It., 533; Adams, P 1864; Brunet, IV, 807-808; Cataldi –Palau, 35; Renouard, 85.10.


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