IMMANUEL BEN SOLOMON, of Rome (c. 1261-after 1328). Sefer ha-Machbarot (Book of poems). Brescia: Gershom ben Moses Soncino, 26 Marcheshvan 5252 (30 October 1491).
Chancery 4o (182 x 140 mm). Collation: 1-68 74 8-208 4 (1/1r: blank; 1/2r: introduction by the author [lacking, supplied in facsimile]; 1/3r: beginning of the text; 6/8r-v and 7/1r: verses concerning the months of the year, illustrated with small woodcuts of the zodiac signs; 21/4v, line 9: end of the text; lines 10-14: colophon). 158 leaves (of 160, lacking the first blank and leaf 1/2). No foliation, no headlines. Signed to the fold, with many omissions. Leaf 7/4 signed 7/2. Irregular use of catchwords. One and two columns. 34 lines, 157 x 112 mm. Types: 1:240 H. (square) for initial words; 4:136 H. (square), unvocalized, for the 'titles' of the 27 Machbarot; 3: 90/2 H. (square), unvocalized, for the poetical part and the signatures; 2:90/2 H. (semi-cursive) for the text. Line fillers. Paper: various paperstocks including two stocks of Balance-in-Circle paper; Crown paper, type Piccard, Die Kronenwasserzeichen, 12:18; and Bull's Head-with-Crown paper, not in Briquet, Piccard, Mosin. (Upper margins cut close, slightly cropping a few letters on about 7 leaves, some worming to gutter margins affecting a few letters, occasional light dampstaining.) Modern brown morocco, gilt fleurons on covers and spine, earlier gilt edges.
PROVENANCE: Extensive Hebrew notes in an early hand on the first seven leaves. Marginal notes in quires 9, 15 and 16. Traces of expurgation, no censor's signature.
FIRST EDITION. The poet Immanuel ben Solomon (Manoello Giudeo) resided originally in Rome and afterwards in different Italian cities. A prolific versifier, he introduced into Italy Spanish metrical forms, modeled on the classic Hebrew poets Solomon ibn Gabirol, Judah Halevi and Judah Al-Charizi, and was the first to adapt the Petrarchian sonnet form to Hebrew poetry. In his Machbarot he combined, within a narrative framework, poems and rhymed prose on love, wine and friendship with satires, allusions, riddles, epigrams, epistles, elegies and religious poems. The last work in this collection, the Machberet (Ha-Tofet ve-ha-Eden), an account of a journey through hell and paradise, was modeled after Dante's Divina Commedia.
A second edition of this collection of verse was published by Gershom Soncino's son Elieser, Constantinople, 1535 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 606, no. 153). A separate edition of the Machberet ha-Tofet ve-ha-Eden was printed at Prague in 1613 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 537, no. 229), and at Frankfurt am Main 1713 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 586, no. 312); a Yiddish translation of that part appeared at Prague about 1660-1662 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 541, no. 427). A German translation, Tofet und Eden oder die Divina Commedia, was published by M.E. Stern, Vienna 1865, and an English translation, Tophet and Eden, by H. Gollancz, appeared in London in 1921. A critical, vocalized Hebrew edition by D. Jarden was published in 1957 in Jerusalem in two volumes: The Cantos of Immanuel of Rome (Machberot Immanu'el Ha-Romi). Edited on the Basis of Early Manuscripts and Printed Editions with Introduction, Commentary, Source References, Appendices and Indices.
REFERENCES: Hain 9137; Adler 19; Artom 27; BAVI Heb-16; Cassuto 37, 38; CIBN Heb-17; Cowley p. 254; De-Rossi I, 39; Duff p. 913; Goff Heb-43; Goldstein 61; Hill 113; Iakerson 96-99; IBH 1778; IDL 2450; IGI E 40; Madsen 2083; 4256, 4316; Marx 23; Mead 4018; Oates 2634; Offenberg 58; Ohly-Sack 1603-1605; Polain 6259-6260 (6237); Proctor 7021; Sander 3492; Steinschneider 5269, 1; Tamani (Parma) 38; Thesaurus A 77; VB 2839; Wachstein 161; Walsh Heb-29; Zedner p. 324.