DIALOGUS CREATURARUM MORALISATUS. Gouda: Gerard Leeu, 11 April 1491.
Chancery 4° (181 x 129mm). Collation: <V>6 a-o6 (1r title, 1v preface, 2r tables, a1r text, o6r colophon, o6v printer's device (Juchhoff 3)). 90 leaves. 37 lines, double column. Type: 5:82G (text), 8:99G (title, headings). Woodcut ornamental initials in 2 sizes, 121 woodcuts from 119 blocks, some with added penstrokes (in one case, an owl) or touched with red. (Some margins cut away affecting one line on g4r, outline of 2 woodcuts pinpricked, m4v-5r soiled, inscriptions and scribbles washed from several leaves.) 18th-century English speckled calf, gilt spine (spine extremities slightly rubbed), marbled endpapers, speckled edges. Provenance: "No.12" on title; Luton, pencilled inscription.
The authorship of these fables, some of which derive from Aesop, is ascribed to either Nicolaus Pergamenus or a Milanese doctor, Mayno de Mayneriis (fl.1290-5-1370), with each claim resting on a single manuscript only. References in the text point to an origin in northern Italy in the 14th century, and its circulation, based on the low number of surviving manuscripts, was not wide. With the introduction of printing, however, and the first publication of the text by Leeu at Gouda, it proved immensely popular. The woodcuts, with one exception, are those used in the first edition, and are the work of the first Gouda woodcutter (cf. Conway, First Gouda Woodcutter). The count of the woodcuts follows the traditional treatment, counting the one for dialogue 9 (and repeated for dialogue 10) as one block, even though it comprises two parts. HC 6130; BMC IX, 195 (IA. 49829); Goff N-156; Polain(B) 1267; CA 564; IDL 1507