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Lot 0071
Shakespeare.- Masuccio Salernitano. Novella di Marioto Senese, 4 leaves, woodcut vignette on recto of first leaf, one decorated initial, upper margin trimmed, some browning and foxing, 19th-century red boards, spine slightly rubbed, title lettered in gilt on front cover, red edges, 8vo (142 x 95mm.), Italy, n.p., n.d.

⁂ Exceedingly rare separate edition of the 33rd tale from a masterpiece of Italian popular literature, the Novellino by Masuccio Salernitano (1410-1475), first published in 1476. This undated edition is recorded in only two Italian institutional libraries, the Angelo Mai Library in Bergamo, and the National Library in Florence.

The tale narrates in Italian vernacular the unfortunate story of the lovers Mariotto Mignanelli and Ganozza Saraceni from two warring Sienese families. Owing to the basic elements of the plot (the rivalry of the families, the clandestine marriage of the protagonists, the role played by a friar, the apparent death of Ganozza, and a misunderstanding which leads to the tragic death of both lovers) Masuccio's novel is considered one of the sources of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
The text is set in roman type, but curiously the printer used an italic font on the last page.
Rothamsted acquisition date not noted.

Literature: Sander 4381; J.L. Levenson, "Romeo and Juliet before Shakespeare", Studies in Philology 81 (1984), pp. 325-347; Romeo and Juliet before Shakespeare: Four Early Stories of Star-Crossed Love... Translated, with an introduction and notes, by N. Prunster, Toronto 2000.

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Shakespeare.- Masuccio Salernitano. Novella di Marioto

Estimate £1,500 - £2,000
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Auction Curated By:
Rupert Powell
International Head of Books and Works on Paper
Justin Phillips
Early and Continental Printing
220 Queenstown Road
London, SW8 4LP
United Kingdom
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