Delle Prose

BEMBO, Pietro (Cardinal): Delle Prose . . . nella quale si ragiona della vulgar lingua. Venice, [C. da Trino], 1540.

Octavo, fols. 112. Second edition. Woodcut initials. Light age-yellowing, light smudges to first and last pages, a good fresh copy in green morocco, elaborately tooled on spine and sides, g.e., by Birdsall of Northamptonshire. A fine modern binding.

Pietro Bembo (1470–1547) Italian prelate and scholar and sometime secretary to Pope Leo X (1513–21). ‘Prosa delle Volgar Lingua’ (1525) is a codification of Italian orthography and grammar. The work argues for the literary use of Italian and specifically the Florentine/Tuscan tongue of Petrarch, Dante and Boccaccio. In an age when Latin was the primary medium of literary expression, the advancement of refined Italian was still unusual and interesting and may well have helped it succeed as a standard written form. ‘Gli Asolani’, Bembo’s other principal work, became one of the most popular books of the Renaissance. He was also one of the earliest historiographers of the Venetian Republic (1529).

Adams B 572. Index Aureliensis *116.396. Not in BM/STC Italian. This edition not in Brunet or Graesse but see Brunet I 765 and Graesse I 533 for others.

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Price: £2500

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