20 November 2002
POGGIUS FLORENTINUS (1380-1459; Poggio BRACCIOLINI). Facetiae. [Rome: Eucharius Silber, after 1483].
Chancery 4° (215 x 144mm). Collation: [1-78 810] (1/2r text, 8/10r register, 8/10v blank). 65 leaves (of 66, without first blank). 33 lines. Type: 2:88R. 2- to 4-line initial spaces, several filled in red at a somewhat later date. (Marginal browning and scattered spotting, neat pen-cancellation (censorship?) of several words on 7/7.) 18th-century Italian flexible vellum (pastedowns slightly wormed, stitching broken, bifolium 8/1.10 separated and loose in binding).
The Facetiae has sometimes been described as the first modern joke-book, compiled in 1451 and first printed c.1470 by Christopher Valdarfer in Venice. Many of the stories are scurrilous or anticlerical, and Poggio betrays a certain defensiveness about them in the Preface, where he admits that 'many people will attack these stories of mine as being trivial and unworthy' but argues that 'even the wisest and most learned of our ancestors enjoyed witticisms, jokes and tales, and thought that these deserved praise rather than censure'. There is some dispute over the dating of this edition, which CIBN assigns to [1480-2] but BMC dates [after 1483] on typographical grounds. C 4788; BMC IV, 120 (IA. 19102); CIBN P-523; NOT IN GOFF.
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