Merlini Cocai poetae mantuani liber Macaronices libri XVII. Non ante impressi

Autore FOLENGO, Teofilo (1491-1544).
Tipografo Alessandro Paganini
Dati tipografici Venezia, 
Prezzo 15000.00
Merlini Cocai poetae mantuani liber Macaronices libri XVII

16mo (138x86 mm). [132, of which the last is a blank] leaves. Collation: +12 A-P8. Leaf P8 is a blank. Colophon on l. P7v. Italic type. Blue morocco signed by Bauzonnet, panels with triple gilt fillets, richly gilt spine with five raised bands, marbled endleaves, gilt edges. Small repair to the lower outer corner of l. P7 not affecting the text. A fine, nicely bound copy.

RARE FIRST EDITION of the first version (known as the “Paganini” from the name of its printer) of the celebrated Maccheronee. The volume contains the Libellus de laudibus Merlini Cocai by the magister Acquario Lodola, two eclogues, and the poem Baldusin its first version in 17 books (cf. M. Zaggia, L'esordio di Folengo, in: T. Folengo, “Merlini Cocai Poetae Mantuani Liber Macaronices Libri XVII Non ante impressi”, Brescia, 1991, pp. 15-24).

A poem in macaronic hexameters, Baldus is considered Folengo's masterpiece. It was later enlarged to 25 books and it is known in four different versions. It is a kind of comic continuation of the Carolingian legend, in which the protagonist, Baldus, grandson of the king of France, is abandoned by his father at an early age and raised by a farmer named Berto. Potentially destined for the life of a knight, Baldus turns out to be a vulgar ruffian. The harsh criticism of the aristocracy, courtiers, and clergy that Folengo develops in this deeply anti-classical text, together with his very peculiar use of language and strong sense of realism combined with explosive villainy, had great influence on François Rabelais, who knew and appreciated Folengo's work.

Folengo introduces himself as Merlin Cocai, born in Cipada, the village facing the Virgilian Pietole. Nourished by a blackbird, Cocai draws inspiration from wine and dishes of gnocchi; compared to the sentimental Limerno and the very serious Fulica, the other two pseudonyms used by Folengo during his literary career, Merlin Cocai represents the facetious and burlesque side of the author's character.

The parody of the Virgilian model and its imitators, like J. Sannazaro and G. Pontano, gives birth to an extraordinary linguistic mélange, which mixes together dialect, slang, and erudite citations. The figures of the hero and the shepherd, so idealistically sketched in the above-mentioned models, once transferred into the macaronic world, turn into characters no longer driven by desires and ideals, but instead dominated by instincts and needs. In this new anthropological dimension values are reversed: what is base and related to the body, usually concealed in official culture, comes to the fore and supplants that which is traditionally considered high and noble.

Edit 16, CNCE19356; A. Nuovo, Alessandro Paganino (1509-1538), Padova, 1990, p. 165, nr. 42; T. Folengo, Macaronee minori, a cura di M. Zaggia, Torino, 1987, pp. 558-559; M. Zaggia, Breve percorso attraverso le quattro redazioni delle Macaronee folenghiane, in: “Teofilo Folengo nel quinto centenario della nascita, 1491-1991”, Florence, 1993, pp. 85-101.

  • Merlini Cocai poetae mantuani liber Macaronices libri XVII
  • Merlini Cocai poetae mantuani liber Macaronices libri XVII
  • Merlini Cocai poetae mantuani liber Macaronices libri XVII
  • Merlini Cocai poetae mantuani liber Macaronices libri XVII