1617 · Lugduni
Strada (1572–1649, first name sometimes given as Famien or Famianus) was a Jesuit professor of Latin and rhetoric at the Collegium Romanum, and the author of a much-reprinted account of the Dutch war of independence, De bello Belgico. Here, he offers his Ciceronian-inspired thoughts on literary style as applicable to history, poetry, and oratory. Sandys describes the Prolusiones academicae as "the most pleasing product" of Latin scholarship of the 17th century, and notes that "in the varied pages of this compact and compendious volume the author shows considerable taste in dealing with large questions of historical, oratorical and political style."
This is the second edition, following the first printed at Rome in the same year. Present here are Strada's poem — part of a pastiche involving a pageant, paying homage to various classical poets — about a nightingale and a lute-player (which later served as the inspiration for an episode in John Ford's drama The Lover's Melancholy, as well as Crashaw's poem "Musicks Duell"), and a passage about magnetically sympathetic needles by way of which two friends communicate over long distances (anticipating the invention of the telegraph).
The title-page is printed in black and red, with an interesting engraved acanthus- and pineapple-decorated architectural border incorporating the Jesuit device. WorldCat locates => only five reported U.S. institutional holdings (Claremont, Boston College, Harvard, Michigan State, Johns Hopkins).
Provenance: Title-page with early inked ownership inscription from a Jesuit institution (difficult to decipher).
DeBacker-Sommervogel, VII, 1605. See Sandys, II, 280. Later cream, ochre, and green patterned pastepaper-covered boards, spine with gilt-stamped cloth label; spine slightly sunned, minor wear to extremities. Title-page with early inked annotations, two lines in lower margin inked over. Text variably trimmed at top, occasionally shaving a header; pages age-toned with some corners creased; one leaf with inkstain in lower margin (not touching text), a few leaves with light staining in upper outer corners. (Inventory #: 40035)