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Lot 0064

Guevara, Antonio de. Aviso de' fauoriti, e dottrina de' cortegiani, composta per l'illustre signor don Antonio Gueuara vescouo di Mondogneto, predicatore, cronichista, & consegliero della Sacra Cesarea Maestà. Tradotta nuouamente dal spagnuolo nell'idioma italiano. Venice: Bernardo Giunti, 1581.

8vo (144x93 mm), attractive 18th century mottled calf, raised bands with gilt-lettered title and gilt decorations on compartments, ff. 206, [2].

Uncommon edition of a very popular courtesy book written by the Spanish bishop Antonio Guevara.

The original work was titled Aviso de privados y doctrina de cortesanos and was first printed in Valladolid in 1539 in Guevara's Libro llamado Menosprecio.

Courtesy books were very popular across continental Europe and England in the sixteenth century. Written to convey proscriptive advice for kings, princes, and members of the court, they may be understood as the very earliest literature of 'self-help.'

These books are filled with advice, deeply rooted in history, and firmly guided by standards of morality. Their overwhelming popularity is evidence that they reached an audience far beyond the ruling elite. Any literate person with enough disposable income to purchase such a book would have access to advice meant for princes. The sentiment is thoroughly populist. As we reflect on social conditions of the past, these courtesy books provide at least two important avenues to explore. Firstly, the actual content gives concrete information about social norms and ideals. Secondly, the rippling effects of the publication of these works, their popularity, and the dissemination and adoption of their content into the culture at large allows us to glimpse a sector of society in the process of re-defining itself. The seeds of the overthrow of Tudor culture, where Henry VIII wielded such overwhelming power and control, are here.

References: Not in Adams. Olschki, Choix (this edition). Paleari, p. 374. Cnce, 22276. OCLC locates only 7 copies in worldwide public libraries (3 in USA).


Negligible pin-wormholes, but a very good copy.

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[Courtesy Books, Court and Courtiers] Guevara, 1581

Estimate €700 - €800
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