LAS CASAS, Cristobal de.


LAS CASAS, Cristobal de. Vocabulario de las dos lenguas toscana y castellana.

Venice, appresso i Guerra fratelli, 1604


8vo. pp. (lviii) 477 [i.e., 491] (iii). Roman letter, some Italic, double column. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, decorated initials and ornaments. T-p a little spotted, light yellowing, faint water stain from upper outer corner of some ll., another to lower outer corner at end, couple or so gatherings somewhat browned (poorly dried). A good copy in contemporary vellum, early ms. drawing of half quadrant and ink splash to upper and few pen trials to lower cover, small loss of vellum to couple of corners. C17 ms. ‘Vocabularius’, crossed-out ex-libris and ms. ‘Comprai usado l’anno 1766 p.s.di 6.8’ to ffep, contemporary ms. ‘Ill. (?) felipo lapo’ and ‘in Parige à 30 giugno 1609 (?) soldi 9 (?)’.

A very scarce Venetian edition of this important Italian-Spanish dictionary, with fascinating expunctions by an early prudish owner. The work of the obscure Sevillian lexicographer Cristóbal de las Casas (d.1576), it was originally published in 1570—the first such bilingual dictionary, praised in the preface by the famous author Fernando de Herrera. ‘It was the first dictionary worthy of this name by which the Spanish language was compared to any other Romance language, excluding the polyglot dictionary of Ambrosio Calepino’ (J.M. Lope Blanch). Las Casas probably learnt Tuscan during a stay in Italy, and his dictionary filled a major gap in the book market, the last Spanish (to Latin) dictionary having been published by Nebrija in 1495. Las Casas provided a way for Spanish-speaking readers to appreciate the wealth of the Tuscan language and literature, and to make it easier for Italians to learn Spanish, for diplomacy, trade, etc. The two parts, Tuscan-Castilian (15,000 lemmas) and Castilian-Tuscan (10,000 lemmas), were reliant on Calepino and Nebrija, but also featured numerous terms which had never been previously listed in a dictionary: e.g., desenquedernar / squadernare, that is, to have a book disbound and broken up into its constituent gatherings or sheets; salcizzo / salchichon (sausage); Berlingozzo / tortilla de huevos (a kind of flatbread); and turbante / turbante tocado turco (Turkish turban). The contemporary (most likely Italian) annotator of this copy carefully covered in ink, in the Tuscan-Spanish section, everyday words he deemed vulgar or inappropriate, concerning, that is, prostitutes (bagascia, bagascione, puttana), sexual intercourse (bugiarare, sodomitico, coito, fottere, sperma) and related body parts (coda, coglioni, cotale, fica, fregna), physiological functions (cacare), related body parts (chiappe, culo) and premises (cesso, cacatoio), and circumcision (circuncidado, preputio). He also corrected two inoffensive Italian translations.

Newberry, UVM and UCSD copies recorded in the US.USTC 4036728; Iberian Books 24165. Not in Palau. I. Acero, ‘Incorporaciones léxicas en el Vocabulario de las dos lenguas toscana y castellana de Cristóbal de las Casas’, Anuario de Estudios Filológicos 14 (1991), 7-14.
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