Gli Asolani di Messer Pietro Bembo

Autore BEMBO, Pietro (1470-1547).
Tipografo Aldus Manutius
Dati tipografici Venice, 
Prezzo 18500.00
Gli Asolani di Messer Pietro Bembo

Bound by P. Bozerian jeune

 

4to (208x118 mm). [97 of 98] leaves. Collation: a-m8 n2. Lacking the last blank leaf n2. Colophon and privilege at l. m8r, Aldine device at l. m8v, errata at l. n1r-v. Italic type. Beautifully bound at the beginning of the 19th century by P. Bozerian jeune in full red morocco, panels framed by gilt and blind-ruled fillets and an elaborate gilt border, richly gilt spine with title and name of the binder, double gilt dentelles on silk pastedowns and flyleaves, gilt edges, second flyleaves on parchement. From the library of the Count Leonardo Vitetti Ambasciatore d'Italia (his printed bookplate on the front pastedown). An exceptionally fresh and wide-margined copy.

FIRST EDITION, first issue with Bembo's dedication to Lucrezia Borgia (dated Venice, 1 August 1504) on title page verso and following page. The dedication was almost immediately suppressed by decision of the author and the editor and the two pages left blank. The dedication is present in only about one third of the surviving copies. During a sojourn in Ferrara, Bembo fell in love with Lucrezia Borgia, the wife of the Duke Alfonso I d'Este.

The Asolani was composed in the form of a dialogue divided into three books, alternating between prose and verse. The story takes place at Asolo in the villa of Caterina Cornaro, the former queen of Cyprus. The model for the prose style is Boccaccio, while the content draws on the courtly and neoplatonic tradition. After an examination of the most authoritative conceptions of love, which is considered both a cause of pain for humanity and a natural and vital element, Bembo proposes the idea of spiritual love, a contemplative desire for an ideal beauty, divine and independent from earthly reality (cf. C. Berra, La scrittura degli 'Asolani' di Pietro Bembo, Florence, 1996, passim).

Pietro Bembo was born in Venice into a noble family. He completed his early studies in Florence, before following the Greek scholar Costantino Lascaris (1492-1494) to Messina. Once back in Venice, he embraced ecclesiastical life and started collaborating with Aldus Manutius, publishing the De Aetna in 1495 and editing Petrarch in 1501 and Dante in 1502. It was Bembo who showed Aldus a Roman coin with a dolphin and anchor carved on one side. His influence on Aldus's editorial choices cannot be underestimated (cf. T. Danforth, M. Bixler & W. Bixler, Pietro Bembo, Foster Father of the Modern Book, New York, 2003).

Between 1506 and 1512 Bembo was at the court of Urbino; he then moved to Rome, where he became secretary of Pope Leo X in 1513. In 1519 he settled in Padua, where he completed the Prose de la volgar lingua, first published in 1525, and the Rime (1530); both works played a key role in the definition and future development of the Italian language and its poetry. In 1530 he was appointed official historian of the Venetian Republic and director of the Libreria Nicena (the future Marciana Library). In 1539 he became cardinal, in 1541 bishop of Gubbio, in 1544 bishop of Bergamo. He died in Rome in 1547 (cf. C. Kidwell, Pietro Bembo: lover, linguist, cardinal, Montréal, 2004, passim).

Adams, B-578; A.A. Renouard, Annales de l'imprimérie des Aldes, Paris, 1834, p. 48.1; A Catalogue of the Ahmanson-Murphy Aldine Collection at UCLA. Fasc. I: The Publications of Aldus Manutius the Elder, Berkeley, 1989, no. 72; Gamba, no. 132; P. Scapecchi, ed., Aldo Manuzio: i suoi libri, i suoi amici tra XV e XVI secolo, Florence, 1994, no. 33.

  • Gli Asolani di Messer Pietro Bembo
  • Gli Asolani di Messer Pietro Bembo
  • Gli Asolani di Messer Pietro Bembo
  • Gli Asolani di Messer Pietro Bembo
  • Gli Asolani di Messer Pietro Bembo
  • Gli Asolani di Messer Pietro Bembo