The Italian Settecento



Ariosto, Lodovico. [Opere] Orlando furioso ... delle annotazioni de' più celebri autori che sopra esso hanno scritto, e di altre utili, e vaghe giunte in questa impressione adornato, come nell'indice seguente la prefazione si vede. Venice: Stefano Orlandini, 1730. $5,000


Folio (39 cm); 2 volumes: [50], 576; [4] 400 pages, and 52 engraved plates. Half title present, first title printed in red and black, with engraved vignette on title page. Full-page portrait of the author by C. Orsolini. Second title within engraved border by Giuseppe Filosi. Section title to the Commedia within woodcut allegorical border. Fifty-one full-page engravings by Filosi and by Giuliano Giampicoli, within one of 3 elaborate borders, one signed Filosi. Woodcut head- and tailpieces. Bound in recent quarter leather over buckram-covered boards, with seven panel, leather title labels in period style. Bright and crisp impressions, clean and fresh text.

References: Morazzoni 213; Gamba 60; Brunet I,437; Graesse I,199; Melzi 173; Agnelli Ravegnani I,3.

Splendid illustrated edition of Ariosto's works, considered the culmination of 17th-century baroque styles of Venetian book design and the first emergence of the 18th-century neoclassical flowering. This copy features strong, clean impressions of the plates, including the Orsolini's great portrait, and fifty-one elaborate, full-page allegories ahead of each canto of Orlando Furioso (which occupies the entire first volume) and the Cinque Canti. The contents of the second volume also include the seven comedies, the epistle to Bembo, the satires, L'Erbolato, and poetry in Italian and Latin.


[Arcadia]  Carlo Innocenzo Frugoni; Francesco Algarotti; Saverio Bettinelli. Versi sciolti di tre eccellenti moderni autori. Bassano: Remondini, 1795.

16cm; 298 pages.  
Bound in original publisher’s boards.  Boards worn with worm trails present at joints and extending to first two leaves of text.  Text somewhat shaken in binding.  A few leaves are dog-eared, but text is generally clean.  Book bears several manuscript ownership marks of Carlo de Herra (fl. 1800-1850).  De Herra apparently owned the book in his youth, and claimed it by writing his name on the upper board (dated 1791), and on all three edges of the text block.  The book is protected by contemporary wrappers fashioned out of an envelope addressed to Ferdinando de Herra, with remains of original red wax seal.  Pen trials on upper flap of wrapper.   (4208)  $100.00

Verse epistles by three of Arcadia’s most representative voices.
   The Accademia degli Arcadi was a literary fraternity (and by imitation, a literary style) established at the end of the 17th century with the aim of replacing extravagant baroque fashions with more serious and rational expression.   This collection first appeared in mid century, and was frequently reprinted.

Bisso, Giambatista (1712-1787). Introduzione alla volgar poesia. Venice: Presso G. Orlandeli, 1791.

4. ed. molto migliorata, ed accresciuta dall’autore, spezialmente d’un nuovo libro della poesia teatrale antica e moderna.
19cm; xvi, 271 pages.  Woodcut ornaments. Contemporary vellum over boards.  Few spots.  About very good.  (4223)      $100.00

An eighteenth-century “ars poetica” for Italian writers, including detailed analyses of prosody, rhyme, tropes, and even a prophetic chapter on “dialogism.”  This edition was expanded to include a discourse on dramatic poetry.  Appended is a dictionary of iconology and an essay on “Rhyme and Prose” by Scipione Maffei.

Boccalini, Traiano (1556-1613) ;  Girolamo Briani (1581-1646).  De’ Ragguagli di Parnaso. In questa quinta impressione da molti errori diligentemente espurgata. In Venetia: Appresso gli heredi di Gio. Guerigli, 1630.

4° (22cm); 3 parts in two volumes. 
Printer’s device on title pages.  Woodcut initials and ornaments. Bound in contemporary stiff vellum, titled in manuscript on spine.  Shelf wear and dust.  Light damp marks present.   Early ownership inscriptions canceled on front blank.   References: Gamba, 1802 (1624 ed.); Vinciana 3567.   (4180)     $300.00

Born in Loreto, Boccalini embarked on a political career and actually served briefly as governor of Benevento.  He railed against the domination of Italy by Spain, France and Austria.  In 1605 he began to publish his barbed “dispatches” (ragguagli), which numbered more than 300 by the time of his sudden death (poison?) in 1613.  The author imagined Parnassus as a city in continuous vacation, where poets and politicians meet.  He pretends to send reports from this city on a large variety of themes, but mainly on politics.  The anti-Spanish satire becomes truly ferocious.

Magalotti, Lorenzo (1637-1712). Lettere familiari... con le annotazione del Domenico Maria Manni. Venice: Presso Giambatista Pasquali, 1762.

20cm; xvi, 680 pages, and engraved frontispiece numismatic portrait. 
Printer’s device on title page.  Woodcut initials.  Bound in full vellum over boards.  Titled in manuscript on spine, with paper shelf label.    Scattered foxing.   (4201)     $125.00

Scientist and man of letters, courtier and diplomat in the service of the Medici, Magalotti was secretary of the Accademia del Cimento, and in 1667 he edited the Saggi di Naturali Esperienze (Essays on natural experiments), recounting the academicians’ most notable experiments. He traveled extensively as a diplomat for the Grand Dukes of Tuscany.  In 1678, a sudden break in his relations with the Medici interrupted his career and journeys. Magalotti retired for a decade from public life, dedicating himself to writing the Lettere familiari, published posthumously in Venice in 1719.   These essays seem to question the cognitive limits of science, and to pose the merits of traditional Catholicism against Atheism.  One recognizes the seeds of the “Intelligent Design” argument.

Menzini, Benedetto (1646-1704) ; Pietro Mengoni, editor. Opere. Florence: Nella Stamperia di S.A.R., per li Tartini e Franchi, 1731-32. 

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First collected edition. 22 cm; 4 volumes. Title page of volume 1 printed in red and black. Engraved portrait frontispiece in volume 1. Woodcut initials and ornaments. Bound in contemporary full vellum with titles burnished in gilt on spines. Spines discolored by sunlight. Few worm trails in bindings, especially volume IV. Upper hinge splitting in volume III. Text bright and clean with few marks or blemishes. Reference: Gamba, 673.   $500

An uncomfortable priest, Menzini wrote fierce attacks on the hypocracies of his profession, as well as classically-fashioned odes, canzoni, sonnets, elegies and satires. This collection, edited by Pietro Mengoni, includes a life of the author by Giuseppe Paolucci.

Muratori, Lodovico Antonio (1672-1750). Della pubblica felicità oggetto de’ buoni principi. [Modena]: 1749.

19 cm; [20], 408 pages.  Date and publisher location from salutation after preface.  Bound in later polished calf over marbled boards, spine decorated in gilt.  Worn at extremities.  Text pages browned.  Reference: Kress 4974.   (4232)      $250.00

One of several editions published in 1749; priority among them is unclear.  The librarian-philosopher who sought to reconcile the principles of Enlightenment with Catholicism here applies his vast erudition to questions of political economy and the function of government.

Muratori, Lodovico Antonio (1672-1750). Delle forze dell’ intendimento umano, o sia, il pirronismo confutato... Venice: Giambat[t]ista Pasquali, 1772.

Fourth edition. 19cm; xx, 272, [2] pages.   Publisher’s device on title page.  Bound in contemporary marbled paper over boards, with leather label titled in gilt on spine. Speckled edges.  Insiginificant worm trails on boards; small abrasion on title page, else unblemished.     (4166)          $120.00

An argument defending human reason against the fideist, anti-Cartesian essay by Pierre-Daniel Huet, Traité philosophique de la foiblesse de l’esprit humain  (An Essay Concerning the Weakness of Human Understanding, 1723).  Muratori was certainly Huet’s equal in the  breadth and depth of his studies, and in his vast command of the literatures.

Muratori, Lodovico Antonio (1672-1750); Giangiuseppe Orsi (1652-1733). Memorie intorno alla vita del marchese Giovan Gioseffo Orsi, Bolognese. Modena: Bartolomeo Soliani, 1735.

First edition. Octavo (19 cm); [4] 117 [3] pages; first two pages blank. Three parts, each with separate title page, continuously paginated. Woodcut putto device on two title pages; woodcut initial and ornaments. Bound in 1/4 vellum over pasteboard, titled in manuscript on spine. Scattered foxing, yet sound, clean and entire.

Orsi's main contribution to the Italian enlightenment resided in his pamphlet war with the French Jesuit chauvinist Dominique Bouhours at the beginning of the 18th century. Bouhours argued for the universality of the French language and the superiority of the French spirit. Here the librarian-philosopher Lodovico Antonio Muratori presents an impassioned eulogy for his intellectual predecessor, recently dead, and edits his surviving poetry. The 39-page introduction is followed by Orsi's poems, and then by a collection of memorial sonnets by Muratori, Tassoni, Zanotti and others.      (4794)      $400.00

Muratori, Lodovico Antonio (1672-1750). La vita del Padre Paolo Segneri juniore della Compagnia di Gesu. S’aggiungono alcune Operette Spirituali composte dal medesimo religioso ... Modena: Bartolomeo Soliani, 1720.

17 cm; xx, 459 pages.  Woodcut initial.  Lacks portrait.   Bound in later vellum over boards.  Good condition.   (4233)      $95.00

Petrarca, Francesco  ; Alessandro Tassoni ; Girolamo Muzio ; Ludovico Antonio Muratori. ...Le Rime ... riscontrate co i testi a penna della Libreria Estense, e co i fragmenti dell'Originale d'esso Poeta.... Modena: Bartolomeo Soliani,   1711.

4to (23 cm); xxxv, [1], 860 pages. Woodcut device on title page. Woodcut initial. Bound in earlier vellum (remboitage) pressed into service for which it was not quite ample. As a result, the gutter has split between the first and second leaves, holding by strained threads. Titled in manuscript on spine. Light damp stains at beginning and end of text. Reference: Brunet: IV, 553 ("toujours recherchée"). $225

First printing of the Muratori/Tassoni edition of Petrarch, which placed the two leading literary figures into something of a editorial competition. Each poem in the Canzoniere is followed by Muratori's and Tassoni's comments (along with Muzio's 16th-century notes), which occasionally agree. One laments the unfortunate binding (a decision made in the 18th-century by someone trying to be thrifty), but the book is important. 

Piozzi, Hester Lynch Thrale (1741-1821) and others. The Florence Miscellany. Florence: Printed for G. Cam, 1785.


First edition, presentation copy. Octavo (21 cm); 224 pages, including three pages of engraved music. Manuscript leaf in Piozzi's hand bound in. Bound in contemporary English tree calf, gilt, covers with an outer border of Greek key pattern between gilt fillets and framing an interlaced gilt inner border with tooled corner ornaments of flowers, board edges, turn-ins, and text block edges gilt; marlbed endleaves; expertly rebacked with wriginal backstrip laid down, corners repaired. Some very minor foxing. Manuscript alterations (by Piozzi) on pages 62, 209, 215. Censored lines on pages 9, and 27 left blank, but small pasted slip corrects text on page 20. Nineteenth-century bookplate of Walter Hamilton; penciled note of Pickering & Chatto on lower endleaf dated 1937.  $8,500

Reference: Rothschild 1437; Maggs catalogue 1083, #398 (this copy).

Presentation copy from Hester Lynch Piozzi to her friend and correspondent, the Cambridge professor of Arabic Leonard Chappelow, with his signature on the title page and note on the front fly-leaf, "Given to me by my Good Friend Mrs. Piozzi April 1787." Opposite Mrs. Piozzi's "Translation of an Italian Sonnet upon and English Watch," is inserted an AUTOGRAPH TRANSCRIPT of the original Italian poem in Piozzi's hand. The typographical error in the printed text annoyed her, as she wrote to Lysons from Rome in March, 1786, "They have printed it 'touched by a magic hand.' It should be 'wand,' for 'hand' comes in the line that rhymes to it." Here, she crossed out "hand" and wrote "wand" in black ink.

The collection was a collaboration between four English ex-pats (Piozzi, William Parsons, Robert Merry and Bertie Greatheed) and their Italian friends, among them Piozzi husband (who contributed a musical serenade), Lorenzo Pignotti, Angelo d'Elci, Marco Lastri and Giuseppe Parini. Their idea was to reinvigorate poetry by injecting Italian poetic traditions into English letters. In addition to original poems, the volume notably translates selections from Petrarch, Dante, Tasso and Poliziano into English, as well as contemporary political odes and panegyrics to Italian patriots.

The collection was written off as unserious by contemporary critics (in part due to it Piozzi's preface, which presents it as light amusement), yet it was the first important English engagement with Italian poetry after Milton, and it led English Romantics into Italian territory. The authors shared copies from the paltry print run between themselves and sent out copies to their friends.

Roberti, Giovanni Battista (1719-1786). Cento favole esopiane ... dedicate al merito sommo di sua Eccellenza la Marchesa Donna Margarita. Como: Nella stamperia Scotti, 1781.

First edition. 17cm; [2], 8, 228 pages.  Woodcut and typographic ornaments and initials, including typographic running headers, fleurons, tail pieces.  Bound in full mottled calf tooled in gilt on spine, worn at edges and extremities with some loss at crown.  Contemporary decorated paper pastedowns.   Title page browned and abraded at gutter (the result of an old repair?).  Cello tape repair to leaf *2.   Some browning at gutter of last leaves.  Else only occasional spots, stains or worm trails, mostly in margins.  References: Parenti 431 (following error of Gamba, 2420, which cites the Bassano 1782 edition).   (4189)  $250.00

Satiric and serious poems by the Jesuit philosopher who tried to justify Catholicism and the Enlightenment.
  The poems are Aesopian fantasies with modern implications (“the Nightingale in America,” for instance, or “The Mushrooms and the Lemon.”  This is the true first edition, preceding the Bassano edition cited as the first by Gamba and Parenti.

Roberti, Giovanni Battista (1719-1786). Lettera del Signor Conte Abate Giambatista Roberti sul prendere, come dicono, l’aria, e il sole. N.p.: [1776?].

Edizione seconda. 19cm; 74 pages.  Fine engraved historiated initial showing a putto holding an open book while riding a scallop shell off-shore with the sun at the horizon.  Bound in contemporary decorated paste paper wraps.  Wraps splitting at spine, with some loss; first quire almost loose.   (4231)          $175.00

Essay in letter form on the healing power of Nature, and on the beneficial aspects of sun bathing and breathing clean air.

Saccenti, Giovan Santi (d. 1749). Le rime di Giovan Santi Saccenti da Cerreto Guidi accademico sepolto con le note di U.P.D.C. Florence: Gaspero Ricci, 1808.

“Prima edizione fiorentina, corretta ed accresciuta di altre Rime finora inedite” (First Florence edition, revised and enlarged with previously unpublished poems).
16cm; 2 volumes in one. 270; 296 pages.  Bound for utility in green polished calf over marbled boards, worn at edges and extremities.  Titled in gilt on spine, with shelf label in manuscript.  Hinges split but holding.  Occasional marginalia in manuscript.  References: Melzi 3:446 (glossing “U.P.D.C.” as “Un Prete di Cerreto,” and identifying him as Nicola Saccenti; Gamba, 2425, note (“queste poesie ... danno  buona copia di voci e di graziosi modi di dire”).   (4167)         $100.00

Giovanni Santi Saccenti is a beacon for all who are brilliant, sharp, wise, full of the poetic gift, and yet excluded from financial or social success.  Saccenti made his living as an itinerant notary.  While he lived, he read his poems-shiny as knives and sharper-to great acclaim at gatherings for friends.  They circulated in manuscript for a dozen years after his death before appearing in print, full of mistakes, in 1761.  Satires in the tradition of Juvenal and Persius, but informed by Enlightenment sensibilities, the collection also includes a “version” in modern dress of Horace’s Ars poetica, and a mock epic entitled Il Vezzoso (“The Dandy”).  The present edition claims priority in Florence, capital of the poet’s native region.

Zanotti, Francesco  Maria (1692-1777). Dell’arte poetica ragionamenti cinque. Bologna: Lelio dalla Volpe, 1768.

First edition. 22cm; xii, 401, [1] pages.  Printer’s vignette on title page.  Bound in contemporary quarter calf over marbled boards.  Extremities quite worn, marble paper pulled away from base of upper board with loss.  Text rather clean, with negligible foxing at first and last pages.  Refrence: Gamba 2514 (citing Parini, “nulla v’ha di simile fra le Poetiche moderne”).   (4181)            $150.00

Zanotti, Francesco Maria (1692-1777). Raccolta di alcune poesie volgari e latine. Milano: Giuseppe Marelli, 1774.

12mo (16cm); 118 pages.  Attractive woodcut and typographic ornaments. Bound in full mottled calf, tooled in gilt on spine.  Binding somewhat worn, hinges split but holding.  Text shaken in binding.  Speckled edges.   (4202)     $75.00

Graceful 18th-century poetry on philosophical and political themes in Italian and Latin.