Venice, presso Aldo, 1583.
12mo. pp. 276 (xxxvi). Italic letter, little Roman. Woodcut Aldine device to t-p, 11 half-page woodcuts of scenes from the poem, decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Light, mainly marginal waterstaining, t-p a little soiled and backed, minor marginal repair to couple of ll., one touching a letter at p. 132. A good copy in c1900 carta rustica, lower joint cracked, early autograph of Francesco Machi (?) and initials T. (or F.) M. to t-p.
Aldine edition of ‘Rinaldo innamorato’, the first composition of Torquato Tasso to reach the press. One of the masters of Renaissance Italian poetry, Tasso (1544-95) was educated with Francesco Maria della Rovere, son of the Duke of Urbino, before moving to Venice and, as a law student, to Padua, where he was celebrated as a brilliant literary wit. Originally published in Venice in 1562, ‘Rinaldo innamorato’ is a 12-canto epic poem cleverly blending the Virgilian tradition and the theme of love. This Aldine edition, of greater quality and edited by Lelio Gavardo, was included in the multivolume collection of Tasso’s ‘Rime’, published that year (Renouard 233:7). Each with its own t-p and collation could also be purchased separately. This pocket edition sought to capitalise on the success of Tasso’s works, made even more pleasant by the delightful woodcuts clearly reprising Ariosto’s illustrated editions. Indeed, the poem was intended as a prequel to ‘Orlando furioso’ and ‘Orlando innamorato’, telling the deeds which another paladin, Rinaldo, Orlando’s cousin, carried out for his beloved Clerice. The first line—‘I sing the happy worries, and first ardours’—introduces the poem’s adolescent hero whilst playing on the famous incipits of the ‘Aeneid’, celebrating ‘the arms and the men’, and of ‘Orlando furioso’, focusing on ‘women, knights, arms, love, courtesy and bold deeds’. A rare edition.
Adams T267. See Renouard 233:7; BM STC It., p. 660; Gamba 967 (mentioned), Fontanini II, 74.