La Poetica

Autore: DANIELLO, Bernardino (ca. 1500-1565)

Tipografo: Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio

Dati tipografici: Venezia, 1536

Formato: in quarto

Bound in contemporary purple vellum

(bound with:)

Partenio, Bernardino (ca. 1498-1589). Della imitatione poetica. Venice, Gabriel Giolito de' Ferrari, 1560.

Two works in one volume, 4to (200x137 mm). I: 136, [4] pp. Collation: A-Q4 R6. Title printed on first leaf verso. Colophon and privilege on l. R5r, errata on l. R5V. Leaf R6 is a blank. Italic type. Decorated woodcut initials. II: [16], 248, [4] pp. Collation: *8 A-P8 Q6. Printer's device on the title page, other version of Giolito's device on l. Q6r. Errata on l. Q5r-v. Italic type. Decorated woodcut initials. Contemporary flexible vellum with overlapping edges, panels colored in purple, inked title on spine, gauffered and gilt edges (traces of green silk ties). On front flyleaf the ownership inscription of Galeotto Bernardini dated 1578 along with the shelf mark “H.2”. Some foxing and browning in the second work, but all in all a very fresh and genuine copy.

I) FIRST EDITION beautifully printed and dedicated to the Bishop of Brescia, Andrea Corner. After Trissino's Poetica (1529), this is the first treatise on poetics written in Italian.

“In La poetica of Bernardino Daniello (1536), one senses an enrichment of the tradition represented by its two predecessors [Trissino and Vida (De arte poetica, 1527)], if no essential change. Horace still furnishes the basic text, and most of the Ars poetica reappears in Daniello's work, translated and rearranged… There are some traces of Plato in the ideas on imitation and on the exiling of the poets, some traces of Aristotle in the discussion of tragedy and in the comparison of poetry to history. The first section is indebted, for its defense of poetry, to the numerous commonplaces of the time; the final section, for its treatment of language and of prosody, to a whole series of theorists of style and versification. Like Trissino, Daniello takes his examples largely from the Italian poets… Daniello's defense of the art of poetry is manifold and extends into various theoretical considerations…” (B. Weinberg, A history of literary criticism in the Italian Renaissance, Chicago, 1961, p. 721).

The numerous poetic examples quoted in the work are mainly taken from Dante and Petrarch. Daniello's preference, however, is for the latter, as he considers Dante more of a philosopher than a poet. The notes to Petrarch's Canzoniere, contained in the second part of the treatise, were later expanded by Daniello and used in his 1541 edition of Petrarch (cf. E. Raimondi, Bernardino Daniello e le varianti petrarchesche, in: “Studi Petrarcheschi”, V, 1952, pp. 95-130).

Bernardino Daniello left his native Lucca at an early age to become a disciple of the humanist Trifon Gabriele, first at Padua and then at Venice. In his main work, the treatise Della poetica, he was one of the first Italian scholars to make the defense of poetry over philosophy (cf. J.E. Spingarn, La critica letteraria del Rinascimento, Bari, 1905, pp. 25-28). His commentary on Petrarch was published in 1541 and that on Dante, posthumously, in 1568. A collection of his letters is found in Paolo Gherardo's Nuovo libro di lettere de i più rari autori (1545) and some of his verses are contained in Giolito's anthology of 1545 (cf. C. Dionisotti, Bernardino Daniello, in: “Enciclopedia dantesca”, 1970, II, pp. 303-304; see also M.R. De Grammatica, Bernardino Daniello, in: “D.B.I.”, XXXII, pp. 608-609).

Weinberg, op. cit., p. 1124; Index Aureliensis, 149.699; Gamba, 1341; Edit 16, CNC15989; L. Carpané, Annali tipografici, Venezia 1521-1551, in: “Il mestier de le stamperie de i libri. Le vicende e i percorsi dei tipografi di Sabbio Chiese tra Cinque e Seicento e l'opera dei Nicolini”, E. Sandal, ed., Brescia, 2002, p. 184, no. 16.

II) FIRST EDITION, dedicated to Monsignor Melchiorre Biglia, of Partenio's major work, which, in 1565, the author translated into Latin and printed in Venice with a new dedication to Emperor Maximilian II.

“A number of the literati whose names had appeared in recent years in connection with Horatian criticism appear again as interlocutors in Bernardino Parthenio's lengthy dialogue, Della imitatione poetica, of 1560. Trifon Gabriele, Giovan Giorgio Trissino, Paolo Manuzio, Francesco Louisini, and Parthenio himself gather together to discuss the matter of poetic imitation and how it differs from rhetorical imitation. In so doing, they pretend to be supplementing the work of Aristotle and Horace, who spoke only of tragedy and the epic and of plot and character in connection with those genres; their own concern will be broader, since they will treat of words, figures of speech, and sententiae (which are common to all genres) and of such general subjects as invention and the universal topics. In his preface Parthenio defends poetry not only by adducing the customary arguments but pointing out the multitude of kinds of knowledge which one may derive from suche a poet as Homer… Throughout Parthenio's treatise, the assumption is implicit that the really important thing about poetry is the diction that it uses. Poetic diction, in fact, is different from that of oratory in several aspects…” (Weinberg, op. cit., pp. 145-147).

In 1538, Bernardino Partenio (whose given name was Bernardino Franceschini) founded the Accademia Parteniana in Spilimbergo del Friuli, his hometown, and it remained active until 1543. The academy was in fact a sort of college, funded by Count Adriano di Spilimbergo, father of the famous painter Irene. The college, a true collegium trilingue, intended to promote the learning of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew in order to allow the reading of the sacred texts in their original language. Francesco Stancaro (ca. 1501-1574), whose religious views were already quite heterodox, was called to the chair of Hebrew (cf. A. Cuna, L'ideale umanistico-rinascimentale del «trilinguis homo» e l'insegnamento dell'ebraico a Spilimbergo, in: “Bernardino Partenio e l'Accademia di Spilimbergo 1538-1543. Gli statuti, il palazzo”, C. Furlan, ed., Venice, 2001, pp. 144-153). The religious approach of the college soon met with the opposition of the authorities. The sudden end in 1543 of the academy, whose statutes had been published only three years earlier, was probably due to the hostility of the newly founded Inquisition and by the death of Count Adriano (1541), whose library contained numerous works by such Italian heretics as F. Brucioli, B. Ochino, F. Zorzi, and Protestant authors, such as Luther, Erasmus, U. von Hutten, A. Osiander, and Margaret of Navarre.

After the closing of the academy, Parthenio was called to teach in Venice, Ancona, and Vicenza, where, in 1554, he founded a new Accademia Parteniana to teach Greek and Latin, this time with a less pronounced religious approach. After 1560 he returned to Venice, where he taught Greek at the Marciana and Latin at the College of Notaries. He died in Venice in 1589 (cf. U. Rozzo, Per una bibliografia di Bernardino Partenio, in: “Op. cit.”, pp. 31-51).

Edit 16, CNCE26304; Weinberg, op. cit., p. 1138; A. Cuna, Le opere di Bernardino Partenio: contributo per una bibliografia, in: “Op. cit.”, p. 164, no. 4a; S. Bongi, Annali di Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari da Trino di Monferrato stampatore in Venezia, Rome, 1890-1895, II, pp. 83-84