Proverbij di M. Antonio Cornazano in facetie: ristamapati di nuovo: & co tre Proverbij agiunti: & dui Dialoghi nuovi in disputa: cose sententiose & de piacere: istoriati. Sub pena excommunicationis late sententie come nel breve appare. M.D.XXV

Autore: CORNAZZANO, Antonio (ca. 1430-1483/4)

Tipografo: Niccolò Zoppino

Dati tipografici: Venezia, 1525

Formato: in ottavo

Proverbs of the Italian Renaissance

8vo (mm 150x95), [47] leaves. Collation: A-F8. Lacking the final blank. Title printed in red and black within a woodcut architectural border. Woodcut printer's device and colophon on l. F6v. With 18 woodcut vignettes in text illustrating the proverbs (some repeated). Large initial on black ground at the opening of Dialogo de un philosopho che contrasta con il pedochio, which opens with a separate title page at l. F2r. Wormholes in the margins of the first 3 leaves, partially restored and affecting a few letters of text, additional wormholes in the lower blank margin of the last 3 leaves, some staining and foxing. Recent dark brown blind-ruled full calf in the style of a Renaissance binding, whose panels, bearing a centrepiece and four corner pieces set within a fillet (all in gilt), come from an original 16th-century binding, red edges. On the front pastedown the manuscript ownership inscription “Ex libris Balihassaris Zamboni” and printed bookplate “Ex libris Lanfranchi Rizzardi”.

PROBABLY THIRD EDITION, but the first to contain the Dialogo tra el senso e la rasone taken from Seneca and the Dialogo de un philosopho che contrasta con il pedochio. Although reprinted about fifteen times between 1518 (when it was first printed in Venice by Francesco Bindoni and Maffeo Pasini) and 1558, all editions were already extremely rare in 1812, when Renouard decided to republish the work in Paris, using the text of the present 1525 Zoppino edition.

The three additional proverbs announced in the title (which become two in the final index) are not actually included in the edition, which contains the previously printed 16 proverbs and the so-called Novella ducale, with the only addition being the two dialogues cited above. The spurious character of these additional texts, which were subject to various interpolations, is also attested by the earlier 1523 Zoppino edition, which in addition to the proverbs presents a vernacularization of Apuleio's ‘Golden Ass'.

Cornazzano composed a work called De proverbiorum origine around 1454 with a dedication to Cicco Simonetta. In it, he made a rather original attempt to rewrite the typical topics of the vernacular tradition in the form of Latin erotic poetry. De proverbiorum origine, which gathers ten novels in elegiac verses, each of them illustrating an Italian proverb, had an initial manuscript circulation and in 1503 was printed in Milan by Pietro Martire Mantegazza.

The fortune of Cornazzano's work on proverbs is however linked to an Italian prose reworking first printed in 1518 with the title Proverbi in facetie. The first edition contains sixteen proverbs followed by the so-called Novella ducale, which narrates an episode of punished infidelity involving Francesco and Bianca Maria Sforza. Of the ten novels of De proverbiorum origine, only five found their way into the vernacular version and the Italian version is not always entirely faithful. For this and other reasons, scholars agree on the fact that the vernacularization was not the work of Cornazzano and his original Latin text was interpolated at different stages (cf. P. Farenga, Cornazzano, Antonio, in: “D.B.I.”, XXIX, 1983, s.v.).

Sander, 2182; Essling, III, 371; Passano, I, 230; Brunet, II, 277.