The Golden Ass

Apuleius cum commento Beroaldi & figuris noviter additis

1507 · Venice
Giovanni Tacuini

Venice: [Giovanni Tacuino] Ioannis Taciuni de Tridino, 1516.

Folio. [14 ], 168 leaves. 35 column-wide woodcut vignettes in text, numerous woodcut decorated letters. Signatures: a\8 b\6 A-EE\6. Title in gothic type; main text printed in large roman type, surrounded on three sides by commentary in smaller roman type; marginal notes in small roman type. Index on preliminary leaves. Bound in circa c19 re-used plain vellum, with older manuscript text scraped away, discernable but illegible.

Title page guarded on inner margin, with two paper repairs on verso; manuscript notes in contemporary hand on blank verso of b6, albout half washed away and offset onto A1r. Light water stain in early quires. A1 repaired on verso. Interlinear manuscript notes in contemporary hand in first quire only. Burn hole in C4. Paper repair to verso of D3, Woodcut on T1 inked over but clearly visible. Restorations on the lower corners of numerous leaves with slight loss of text in some cases.

References: Sander 486; Essling 1324; BM Italian, p.35; Adams A-1375.

Very good with faults as described.

Just about 150 years into the Common Era, the African writer Apuleis produced one of the greatest novels ever written, a model for Cervantes, Rabelais, Salman Rushdie and Angela Carter. The plot surrounds the fortunes of the unfortunate Lucius, who starts fumbling around with magic spells and accidently gets turned into a donkey. The narrative of Lucius’s four-footed travels is interspersed with many other tales, including the familiar myth of Cupid and Psyche. In the end, only the goddess Isis is able to restore Lucius to human form, and only if he joins the mysteries of her cult. The book survived, barely, in manuscript, and was revived in the Renaissance with the commentary of the humanist scholar Filippo Beroaldo, included in this edition of the text, which is only the second printed edition to include illustrations.

2024 Bibliography Week Showcase