Miscellany of Italian Renaissance theater bound for Herbert Norman Evan



Dati tipografici:

Formato: in ottavo

TRISSINO, Gian Giorgio (1478-1550). Di M. Giovangiorgio Trissino La Sophonisba Li retratti Epistola Oracion al Serenissimo Principe di Vinegia. Colophon: [Toscolano Maderno], P. Alex. Pag. Benacenses F. Bena V.V. (Paganino & Alessandro Paganino), [ca. 1527-1529].

8vo. 63, [1] leaves. Collation: A-H8. Italic type. Title page and first leaves slightly foxed.

This rare Paganino edition belongs to the typographer's 8vo series issued between 1527 and 1533. As all the volumes of this series, the edition is undated, but according to A. Nuovo it must have been printed between 1527, when the series was begun, and 1529, when Pope Clemens VII granted to Tolomeo Gianicolo a ten-year privilege.

The Trissino's four works gathered in this edition had been printed separately first by Ludovico degli Arrighi in Rome in 1524, then by Tolomeo Gianicolo in Vicenza in 1529.

Trissino's Sofonisba is a groundbreaking drama in the history of Italian and European theater, as it opened the sources of the Greek theater and adapted the Aristotelian theories of tragedy to the Western stage. With Sofonisba Trissino also introduced for the first time into the Italian tragedy the blank verse (versi sciolti), which soon became standard for the dialogues. Although Trissino's play was not the first one based on the story of Sofonisba, it was the first important Roman tragedy in the Renaissance and, as such, the ancestor of most of the following dramas in Italy, France, and England.

Although Sofonisba was completed in 1515, it was first performed in Italy only in 1562, while a French prose version by Mellin de Saint-Gelais was staged in front of Catherine de' Medici in 1559.

In the Epistola Trissino proposes a reform of the Italian orthography by introducing new letters into the alphabet to distinguish different sounds of the spoken language. The Ritratti is a collection of portraits of feminine beauty.

Edit 16, CNCE53979; A. Nuovo, Alessandro Paganino (1509-1538), Padua, 1990, pp. 97-98 and 191; L.G. Clubb, Italian plays (1500-1700) in the Folger Library, Florence, 1968, p. 229, no. 853; M.T. Herrick, Italian Tragedy in the Renaissance, Urbana, 1965, pp. 54-55.


(bound with:)


DOLCE, Lodovico (1508-1568). Thyeste tragedia di M. Lodovico Dolce, tratta da Seneca. Venice, Gabriele Giolito de Ferrari, 1543 (Colophon: Venice, Gabriele Giolito de Ferrari, September 1543).

8vo. 32 leaves. Collation: A-D8. Printer's device on title page and on last leaf verso. At l. A2r dedication letter by Dolce to Giacomo Barbo dated Padua, 1 August 1543. Italic type. Woodcut historiated initials. Some light marginal staining on a few leaves.

First edition. Between 1540 and 1550 Lodovico Dolce, one of the most prolific poligrafi of the mid 16th century and a strict collaborator of the typographer Giolito de Ferrari, wrote 5 comedies and 8 tragedies, mostly adaptations or translations from Seneca and Euripides. His Thyeste is scarcely more than an Italian paraphrase version of Seneca's play, in which Dolce alternates eleven-syllable lines (endecasillabi) with shorter seven-syllable lines (settenari).

Edit 16, CNCE17328; S. Bongi, Annali di Gabriel Giolito de' Ferrari da Trino di Monferrato stampatore in Venezia, Rome, 1890, I, pp. 52-53; Herrick, op. cit., p. 160.


(bound with:)


DOLCE, Lodovico (1508-1568). La Hecuba tragedia di M. Lodovico Dolce, tratta da Euripide. Venice, Gabriele Giolito de Ferrari, 1543 (Colophon: Venice, Gabriele Giolito de Ferrari, July 1543).

8vo. 47, [1] leaves. Collation: A-F8. Printer's device on title page and on last leaf verso. At l. A2r dedication letter by Dolce to Cristoforo Canale dated Padua, 16 June 1543. Italic type. Woodcut historiated initials. On the title page are two manuscript ownership's inscriptions: “FMC” and “di B[er]nardo di Libri [?]”. Some light marginal staining on a few leaves.

First edition of Dolce's first adaptation from Euripides, not based on the original Greek but through an intermediary Latin translation. Dolce preserves the Greek plot, making only some minor changes, like omitting some characters.

Edit 16, CNCE17327; Bongi, op. cit., I, pp. 51-52; Clubb, op. cit., p. 102, no. 379; Herrick, op. cit., pp. 160-161.


(bound with:)


PARABOSCO, Girolamo (1524-1557). La Progne tragedia nova di M. Girolamo Parabosco. Venice, Al segno della Cognizione, 1548 (Colophon: Venice, Comin da Trino, 1548).

8vo. 32 leaves. Collation: A-D8. Printer's device on title page. Italic type. Woodcut historiated initials. Some light marginal foxing on a few leaves, brown stain of about 20x5 mm on l. C5.

First edition of Parabosco's only tragedy, which perfectly fits into the Italian Renaissance theater tradition of blood and revenge tragedies mostly based on Seneca. There is no evidence that Parabosco knew Corraro's Latin version of Progne, but like Corraro he omitted Ovid's metamorphosis of the leading characters into birds and substituted a more realistic ending.

Edit 16, CNCE24602; M. Bregoli Russo, Renaissance Italian Theater, Florence, 1984, p. 136, no. 467; Clubb, op. cit., p. 178, no. 662; Herrick, op. cit., pp. 179-180.


Four works in one volume (155x90 mm), nicely bound in a 19th-century richly gilt calf, lettering piece on spine, coat-of-arms of Herbert Norman Evan in gilt on the panels, marbled edges and endleaves (spine and joints slightly rubbed). A very nice copy from the library of the book collector and bibliophile Herbert Norman Evans (1802-1877). “Herbert Norman Evans (M.D. 1824; M.C.S. 1825; and F.R.C.S. 1845) of New Grove House, Hampstead, practiced at Highgate. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1848, and edited a library of Anglo Catholic theology in 83 volumes, which was published by J.H. and J. Parker from 1841 to 1863. His library of books, mostly theological, was sold in two portions by Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge 10 May and 21 June 1864. He died at St Leonards on Sea 10 December 1877” (University of Toronto Libraries, British Armorial Bindings, see stamp 1).