BRANT, Sebastian (1457-1521). Stultifera navis. Translated from German into Latin by Jacobus Locher Philomusus (1471-1528) in collaboration with Brant, and with additions by Thomas Beccadelli. Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1 March 1498.
Median 4o (218 x 159 mm). Collation: a-s8 4 t-y4 (a1r title with woodcut, a1v Locher's epigrams to the reader and letter to Brant, a3v verses by Brant and Locher to each other, to Bergmann de Olpe, and on Narragonia, a7r Locher's prologue, a8v Brant's verse prologue and argument, b3r text, 1v additional material by Brant and Beccadelli, x4r epigrams by Beccadelli, x4v colophon and printer's device, y1r register, y4 blank). 164 leaves. 30 lines and headline with foliation. Types: 1:109R (title and headings), 3:77R (text), 4:220G (marginalia). Two black-printed Lombard initials. 118 woodcuts, including repeats and 3 full-page cuts, BY ALBRECHT DüRER, THE MASTER OF HAINTZ NARR, THE MASTER OF THE GNAD HER, and two other anonymous woodcut artists, printer's device, woodcut ornamental border to cuts on s2v and s4r and device. Rubricated with paragraph marks alternating in red and blue, capital strokes and underlining in red. (Small wormholes, some very light browning.) 19th-century brown morocco, wide blind-tooled border to covers, spine lettered in gilt, wide turn-ins, a single contemporary flyleaf preserved at each end, top edge gilt, title lettered on fore-edge (very slightly scuffed at extremities).
Provenance: William Fuller Maitland (1813-1876): bookplate -- Georg Kloss (1787-1854): bookplate -- Carl J. Ullmann: leather booklabel, pencilled collation notes; sale, Parke-Bernet, 15 April 1952, lot 60 -- E.Ph. Goldschmidt (1887-1954): leather booklabel -- [Lathrop Harper 1975]
Second enlarged edition of "the most important of a long line of moralizing works in which the weaknesses and vices of mankind are satirized as follies" (PMM 37). Brant populated a ship bound for the fools' paradise of Narragonia with 100 fools representing all positions and levels of society , including his own occupation as writer by opening his work with a chapter "on the uselessness of books".
This edition contains additional poems by Brant and Thomas Beccadelli. The interpolated quire contains further additions by Beccadelli and is also found inserted as a supplement in some copies of Bergmann's first enlarged edition of 1 August 1497.
The fine woodcut illustrations are those commissioned for the first edition (in German) of 1494, also printed by Bergmann at Basel, many of which are now recognised as the work of Albrecht Dürer; F. Winkler (Dürer und die Illustrationen zum Narrenschiff, Berlin 1951) attributed as many as 73 to the young artist, who resided in Basel for a few months in 1494. To the original series are added new cuts which Bergmann had already used in his previous German and Latin editions of 1495, 1 March 1497, and 1 August 1497. The original Basel series of illustrations was as influential as Brant's text, with all subsequent editions deriving from it.
Brant's Ship of Fools was immensely and immediately popular, being printed in twenty-six 15th-century editions in German, Latin, Dutch and French; it continued to be printed and translated well into the 16th century. Among its most direct imitators was Erasmus, who adopted Brant's form for his own biting satire, Moriae Encomium. In the present edition the reference to the discovery of America appears on f. 76v; its presence in Brant's text is not surprising, since it was Bergmann who published the first German edition of the Columbus letter, announcing his discovery of the New World, in 1493.
H 3751*; Alden and Landis 498/5; BSB-Ink B-821; CIBN B-760; GW 5062; Schreiber 3572; Goff B-1091.