Le Vite delli piu celebri et antichi primi poeti provenzali.

Lyon, Alesandro Marsilii, 1575.


FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo., pp. 254 (xviii). Italic letter. Woodcut initials and ornaments. A little, mostly marginal, foxing, including to title page. A very good copy in 19th C calf-backed paper boards, spine gilt, head of spine and one corner a little bumped. 20th C ex-libris inside upper cover.

First edition in Italian. The original French version was published in the same year, and was translated into Italian for this edition by Giovanni Giudici, with many additions and corrections. The second Italian edition was not published until 1722.

Nostredame, or Notredame, was the younger brother of the celebrated astrologer Nostradamus, and a ‘procureur’ to the Parlement of Aix. He was very early drawn to poetry and wrote a large number of songs. He was also a great connoisseur of Provencal poetry and amassed a large collection of books on the subject, from which the present text was compiled.

Nostredame gives a short biography, typically a few pages long, of 76 early Provencal poets, with selected examples of their work. The Troubadours had most influence in Italy, and Nostredame mentions a number of those to whom Dante referred in the ‘Divine Comedy’ – Bertran de Born, Arnaut Daniel, Folquet de Marseille, and Sordello. The work starts with the 12th century poets Jaufre Rudel and Marcabru, and goes on to the golden age of the Troubadours, with such figures as Bernart de Ventadorn and Raimbaut d’Orange, making the work a ‘who’s who of Troubadours,’ writers whose often ephemeral careers are depicted by Nostredame in both the earliest and pre-eminent biographical source.

BM STC Fr., p. 327; Adams N-348; Baudrier II, p. 163; Brunet IV, p. 109; Graesse IV. P. 691; Not in Cantamessa.


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