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Lot 0056

Castelvetro, Lodovico. Ragione d'alcune cose segnate nella canzone d'Annibal Caro. Venite a l'Ombra de gran Gigli d'Oro. Parma: appresso Seth Viotto, 1573.

8vo (150x90 mm); near contemporary full calf, with four raised bands and blind-toolings on both covers; ff. [4], 180. Woodcut printer's device at title page and a woodcut emblem representing an owl at verso of title-page; head-pieces and initials.

Second and last edition, first in pocket size, regarding a literary controversy arose between Castelvetro and Annibal Caro on a Caro's song (reported in this work, from p. 164v to p. 166r), entitled: Venite all'ombra de' gran gigli d'oro ("Come under the shade of great golden lilies"), motivated by the non-Petrarchan style and language, and the disappointing content (see lot 27).

According to what Benedetto Varchi reported about this dispute in his work Ercolano, Castelvetro had made negative comments about the language of Annibal Caro; Caro, despite being overworked, replied in kind. Castelvetro had not read the response of Caro, but he wanted to publish it, even offering to pay the expenses. Varchi advised him not to read it and make sure that no one would read it, considering that the song would say things that Castelvetro himself would not have liked. Nevertheless Castelvetro insisted and Varchi surrendered, because "For a mad people, a possessed priest" ("A un popolo pazzo, un prete spiritato").

Lodovico Castelvetro (about 1505-1571) was an important figure in the development of neo-classicism, especially in drama. Noble, priest, doctor of canon and civil law, writer, member of the Academy of Intronati of Siena. He used the pseudonym Academic Doubtful. It was his reading of Aristotle that led to a widespread adoption of a tight version of the Three Unities, as a dramatic standard.

Annibale Caro (1507-1566) was an Italian writer and translator: he was a thorough classicist, an archaeologist, and a collector of Roman antiquities. He is known and honored chiefly for his very successful translation of the Aeneid . The concision of the Latin text is replaced by a fuller fluency, which serves however to give complete clarity to Virgil's thought; the wealth and purity of the language are, to Italians, a delight; and the blank verse is handled with an artistic freedom that has never been excelled. Caro's fame was diminished because of the virulence with which he attacked Lodovico Castelvetro in one of his canzoni, and by his meanness for denouncing him to the Church for translating some of the writings of Philipp Melanchthon, an associate of Martin Luther.

Provenance: Owner's signature (cancelled) at verso of last leaf.

References: Cnce, 10046. OCLC locates 3 copies out of Italy (in UK, France and Germany); no copy in USA.


A fine copy in its original binding.

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[Literary quarrels, Poetry] Castelvetro, 1573

Estimate €600 - €700
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