1572 · Vinegia
Emily Dickinson famously observed that a letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend. So it is that here in this collection of Renaissance-era letters we meet the mind of Tolomei (1492–1555), a Humanist poet, diplomat, philologist, literary critic, and Catholic bishop. He counted among his many correspondents such notables as Anibal Caro, King Francis I, Aretino, Paolo Manuzio, Girolamo Ruscelli, and Bernardino Ochino; and among the women of his era Giulia Gonzaga, Vittoria Farnese, Camilla Saracini, Catherine de' Medici, Lavinia Sanvitale, Countess Olimpia Tolomei, and the Archduchess Margaret of Austria (1480–1530).
Topics found in this collection of correspondence are wide ranging: Dante and terze rime, poetic style, preference for the Tuscan dialect, the fountains and viaducts of Rome, proper use of honorifics in letters, the letter "H" in Tuscan Italian and whether it is aspirated or not, teaching the alphabet to beginners, how a prince should react to those who speak ill of him, and the use of Greek words and terms.
This edition "con nuova aggiunta ristampati, & con somma diligenza da molti errori corretti" is printed in italic, and divided into seven "books," each "book" beginning with a woodcut factotum initial. The printer's handsome woodcut device graces the title-page and the volume ends with three useful indices.
Provenance: Black-stamped supra-libros (faded to "silver") of Paulus von Pruan (1548–1616), the Nuremberg merchant and collector, and his signature on the front free endpaper; most recently in the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel ("AHA") at rear.
Adams T789; EDIT16 CNCE 30511. Contemporary limp vellum (lacking front pastedown) with slightly yapp edges; evidence that an old manuscript leaf was repurposed in construction of spine and of now-absent ties. Occasionally a little old very light staining or foxing; clean and nice. => A desirable copy. (Inventory #: 38143)