[Alcalá de Henares], [Juan de Brocar], [1546.]


FIRST EDITION. 4to. Three works in one, ff. (xii) 69 (i) (xiv) 80, 53 (i). Large Gothic letter. Red and black titlepage to each, acanthus leaf border, red and black fleurons at foot; attractive printer’s device to last of each; decorated initials. Light age browning, a little foxing, a couple of minor marginal tears, A12 (blank) and lower outer blank corner of one leaf torn, small stain and minor fraying to lower margin of last gathering. A good, well-margined copy in early limp vellum, yapp edges, traces of ties, early inked lettering and painted red library mark (?) on spine, minor loss, spine somewhat loose but sound, rear eps from later theological work. Early inscriptions ‘m n III al m muy mado(?)’ and one illegible to t-p margins and monogram ‘AC’ to blank sections of t-p, marca de fuego ‘GA’ (Convento de san Pedro de Alcántara, Guanajuato, Mexico) to upper fore-edge.

A good, well-margined copy of this scarce first edition of Francisco Cervantes de Salazar’s works. Cervantes (1514?-75) was a humanist from Toledo who studied at the University of Salamanca and was acquainted with scholars like Juan Luis Vives. In 1550 he moved to Mexico where he wrote on its local geography and history and taught at the newly-founded university. This edition features his Spanish translations with commentaries on three works concerned with the epistemology of ethics and morality seen through the lens of Christian humanism. Cervantes added glosses to the first two texts. Luis Mejia’s ‘Apólogo de la ociosidad y el trabajo’—a moralised narrative—uses the Sybarites, inhabitants of an ancient Greek town famously prone to luxury and pleasure, as the basis for a discussion of idleness versus work in the life of social communities. Of Stoic inspiration, Vives’s ‘Introducción y camino de la sabiuduría’ presents wisdom as judgement which leads to virtuous choices. Cervantes edited and completed Pérez de Oliva’s ‘Diálogo de la dignidad del hombre’, a study of the relationship between rational understanding and human passions. It is dedicated to Hernan Cortes, praised as a model of prudence, liberality and humanity during his conquest of the New World. The works have separate pagination and t-ps, each of which lists all three parts beginning with the work it is prefacing; the parts may be found bound in different order.

The provenance of this copy can be traced to the Convento de san Pedro de Alcántara, Guanajuato, Mexico.

Only Dartmouth and Indiana at Bloomington complete copies recorded in the US. NYPL contains part 1 only, Harvard lacks final printer’s letter to the reader.USTC 335632; BM STC Sp., p. 51; Brunet I, 1746; Palau 54065; Palau y Dulcet (2nd ed.) 3:471; Sabin 75567; Alden 546/8: ‘Author’s dedication to Hernan Cortés includes references to latter’s exploits in the New World’.
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