BUONI, Thomasso


BUONI, Thomasso Problemes of beauty, love and all humane affections

London, for E. Blount and William Aspley, 1618


12mo. pp. (xxiv) 288 (xx): B-O12, P10. Roman letter, table in italic. Woodcut initials typographic ornaments, engraved armorial book-plate of Francis Freeling on pastedown, label of H. J. Boddington on fly, bookplate of Fox-Pointe Collection on rear pastedown. Light age yellowing, title and final leaf inlaid, not touching text, a little insignificant waterstaining. A good, clean copy in early C19th. calf gilt, covers bordered with gilt rules and gilt rolled border, spine gilt ruled in compartments with large gilt fleurons, lacking label, joints restored.

Extremely rare edition of this most interesting work translated by Samson Lennard (d. 1633), friend and companion to Sir Philip Sidney and protégé of Henry, Prince of Wales and William Herbert. This is a delightful and detailed analysis of all the human emotions; fear, anger, compassion, delight, hope, hate, sorrow, desire, despair , but above all, love and beauty: “their causes, properties, offices, uses and endes”. The work is entirely free from lengthy quotations from antique authors, or obscure criticisms of earlier works, which make indigestible so many speculative writings of the period; rather it is a fresh and original exercise in human observation and common sense. “Tommaso Buoni, Thomas Wright, and Robert Burton all conceptualize passions, affections, desires, and urges as biological responses that are determined by the humoral elements. However, none of these writers (not even Burton who frequently celebrates men who allow themselves to indulge in their impulses) allow for man to use their natural humor as an excuse for poor behavior. Reason, the knowing, moral, immaterial essence, should guide the passions. … In his pamphlet, Problemes of Beauty, Love, and all Humane Affections, originally published in 1605, Italian anthologist Tommaso Buoni phrases the (question of nobility) differently. His section “On Beauty” contains the subsection titled: “Why do Princes and women of honorable birth prove for the most part fairer both in body and mind, then women of baser condition?” Buoni’s answer has little to do with lineage and everything to do with what they eat and drink: ‘Their delicate, and exquisite diet, both in their meates, & drinks, make their bloud more pure, their vitall spirits more lively, their complection more Beautifull, and their nature more noble, so that passing their time without interruption of any troublesome or disorderly molestations, they become by their high thoughts and honorable imaginations, both Beautifull and gentle in aspect above other women of inferior condition.’ Buoni recognizes the connection between one’s diet and lifestyle and the functioning of their organs, which produce the humors that cause passion. Those who have better economic and social statuses are able to improve their affections and humoral natures through their material conditions.” Devon Wallace ‘Neuroscience and Galen: Body, Selfhood and the Materiality of Emotions on the Early Modern Stage.’

Sir Francis Freeling, (1764 – 1836), was Secretary of HM General Post Office. He acquired a very large library and was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1801, and was one of the original members of the Roxburghe Club, founded in 1812. H. J. Boddington (1811 – 1865) was a renowned victorian landscape painter.

This is the second issue of the first edition, first printed in 1606, and here reissued with a cancel title; the collation correctly begins at B. Both eds. are exceptionally rare. Estc gives two copies only of this edition, both at Harvard.

ESTC S1065 Harvard only. STC 4103.5 not in Grolier or Pforzheimer.
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