[SHAKESPEARE SOURCE]. -- BANDELLO, Matteo (1484/85-1561). XVIII Histoires tragiques, extraictes des oeuvres italiennes de Bandel, & mises en langue françoise. Translated and adapted by Pierre Boaistuau, called Launay (fl. 1550) and François de Belleforest (1530-1583). Turin: César Farine, 1570.
16o (117 x 80 mm). Collation: A-Z AA-ZZ AAA-III8. 440 leaves (including final blank). Roman and italic type. Woodcut initials. (Some light foxing, occasional minor marginal dampstaining, small inkstains to BB3 and HHH1.) Contemporary limp vellum, trace of two fore-edge ties (lacking ties, minor staining); morocco-backed folding cloth case.
The short stories of the Dominican friar and courtier Matteo Bandello, bishop of Agen from 1550, constitute the most important collection of novelle of the Cinquecento. Bandello compiled his stories for publication after fleeing to France with the widow of his patron Cesare Fregoso following the latter's assassination in 1541. The first edition, containing 186 stories in 3 volumes, was published at Lucca in 1554; a fourth volume, containing an additional 28 stories, was printed posthumously in 1573 at Lyon. Characterized by a wide range of styles and genres, ranging from the comic and bawdy to the sentimental, tragic, or horrific, Bandello's tales rapidly won a European reputation, largely through the intermediary of the earliest French translations. In 1559 the historian and writer Pierre Boaistuau published a freely adapted French translation of six of Bandello's tragic tales. In the same year François de Belleforest published his own translations of 12 other stories, followed by three later volumes containing 60 more stories. The 18 stories published at Paris in 1559 were reprinted in a single volume by Jean Martin at Lyon in 1564: the present edition reprints Martin's edition. The third novella, intitled "L'Histoire de deux amans, dont l'un mourut de vénin, l'autre de tristesse," is the story of Romeo and Juliet. Boaistuau's version of Bandello's story (itself derived from Luigi da Porto's reworking of a tale by Masuccio Salernitano) was translated into English by Arthur Brooke and printed in 1562 (STC 1356.7). Geoffrey Felton translated Boaistuau's and Belleforest's text of all 18 stories into English for the first collected English edition of Bandello's stories (1567, STC 1356.1; 25 other stories had appeared in William Painter's Palace of Pleasure in 1566). Much Ado about Nothing, Twelfth Night, and Webster's Duchess of Malfi were all based on tales by Bandello. RARE. Brunet I, 638.