16 July 2014
FOLENGO, Teofilo (1491-1544). Opus Merlini Cocaii poetae Mantuani Macaronicorum, totum in pristinam formam per me magistrum Acquarium Lodolam optime redactum. Toscolano: Alessandro Paganino, 5 January 1521.
16° (120 x 75 mm). 54 full-page woodcuts. (Occasional light soiling.) Later vellum, title on spine, red edges (light stain). Provenance: Christoph Them. S. (ownership inscription on title).
FIRST COMPLETE EDITION, and the first edition to contain the well-known series of woodcuts which are of simple execution, but suit the spirit of the book. Teofilo Folengo, a Benedictine monk, was the best representative of macaronic literature, or a synthetic combination of Italian and Latin. Folengo's masterpiece is Baldus, a poem in macaronic hexameters, published under the pseudonym Merlin Cocai. Four versions of Baldus are known, published in 1517, 1521, 1539-40, and 1552. In the present edition the Baldus was extended from 17 to 25 books, and includes the parodic Zanitonella love poetry and fable Moschaea, about the battle between flying ants. The experience of his travelling life makes his poems one of the most important source books on contemporary life and customs. It enjoyed great popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries. In view of the general nature of the work, it is easy to understand its appeal to Rabelais, who found in it the prototype of his 'Panurge' and his 'Gargantua'. A FINE COPY. Adams F-687; Brunet, II, 1317; Sander 2832. Together with a later edition of the same work printed in Venice by Jacopo Simbenio in 1572 (without final blank). Adams F-689.
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