1590 · Vinegia
First Catholic-approved edition of Franco's Dialogi piacevoli. During the Counter Reformation, most of the "ingrato e faticoso lavoro" (as described by the Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani) of censoring texts that the Church found objectionable was carried out anonymously; Dominican priest and prolific editor Giovannini was one of the few whose name was associated with his work. His expurgated productions achieved notable success — this title alone was republished in six other editions by 1609.
Author Franco (1515–70) led quite the interesting life first as Pietro Aretino's secretary and then as his nemesis, before being hanged by the Inquisition, though the present radically altered version of his work might suggest otherwise. Ugo Rozza reports that Giovannini chose to omit Franco's eulogy for Erasmus and, further, that the "rewriting was a travesty of Franco's thought: the explicit anti-Roman polemic in the original was => perverted into an apologia for doctrine and for the most orthodox sentiments" ("Italian Literature on the Index," Church, Censorship and Culture in Early Modern Italy). Indeed, in a twist showing how radically confusing to readers and "the record" censorship could be, Giovannini's revisions here were so extensive that he later decided to publish the work under his own name rather than Franco's!
Of the two Salicato printings of 1590, this offering is distinguished by a dedication from Giovannini to Annibale Ruccelai instead of the later dedication to Bernardo, Brandimarte, and Bartolomeo Lovaria. The text, in Italian, is neatly printed in single columns using mostly italic and some roman type, with several decorative and historiated initials as well as head- and tailpieces; Salicato's printer's device appears on the title-page.
Provenance: From the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel ("AHA") at rear.
Adams F954; Brunet, II, 1377; EDIT16 CNCE 79848; Graesse, II, p. 628. On Franco & Giovannini, see: Treccani (online). Rebacked 18th-century speckled calf, spine with gilt-lettered red leather label, raised bands ruled in gilt, covers framed in gilt double fillets; extremities rubbed, original leather showing fine cracks, free endpapers chipped (with a few pencilled notations). All edges speckled red. Light age-toning and mostly faint marginal waterstaining, a few other stains; four leaves with uneven edges or marginal paper flaws from manufacture. Booklabel as above, evidence of partially removed bookseller label; title-page with small ink dashes, five leaves with mostly illegible ink notes (occasionally offsetting) in an early hand. => Intriguing, particularly in comparison with Franco's original. (Inventory #: 39319)