Literature and Drama

Words from the Past

This section contains a wide variety of works: fiction, commentaries on society, plays, opera, and poetry. It spans medieval works and early modern personages' entire collection of works. UNL has several key authors of literature, including Ovid, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Petrarch, and Sir Thomas More.

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Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343-1400)

The works of Geoffrey Chaucer newly printed, with divers works which were never in print before: As in the table more plainly doth appear

[London] Printed by W. Bonham, 1542

Description:This beautiful book, printed in 1542, contains all of the well-known works of Geoffrey Chaucer including “The Knyghtes Tale,” “The Wyfe of Bathes Tale,” and “The Reves Tale.” It also includes lesser known works that, according to the title, first appeared in print the 1542 edition. The book cover contains an owner’s mark stating that it once belonged to someone named Needham. The cover and binding are beautiful and the pages within are in remarkable shape for a book that is nearly five hundred years old. The text is written in Blackletter, or Old English text, and is incredibly beautiful. The final page of the book contains some handwritten notes that unfortunately have faded and are not very legible. The scribbled marginalia suggests that in the 475 year lifespan of this book it has been well-studied and well-loved. -- Angela Bolen

Adoption Price: $500



Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343-1400); F. S. Ellis, engraved by W. H. Hooper

The works of Geoffrey Chaucer, now newly imprinted. [Colophon: here ends the Book of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited by F. S. Ellis; ornamented with pictures designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, and engraved on wood by W. H. Hooper

Printed by me William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, Upper Mall, Hammersmith, in the county of Middlesex. Finished on the 8th day of May | 1896]

British Library explanation of Kelmscott Chaucer

Adoption Price: $100

ADOPTED!


Photo of reader marks in Arcadia
Reader marks in Arcadia. Photo courtesy of Sarah Walcott. Copyright: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University Libraries.

Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

The countess of Pembroke's Arcadia / written by Sir Philip Sidney. Now the sixth time published, with some new additions. Also a supplement of a defect in the third part of this history, by Sir W. Alexander

London : Printed by W.S. for Simon Waterson, 1627

Description:The Covntesse of Pembrokes Arcadia consists of five main books, along with supplementary material. Arcadia was written by Sir Philip Sidney (1544-1586), a prominent author and courtier of the Elizabethan era. Sidney, who wrote mostly for the enjoyment of his friends and family, has been compared to Chaucer and Shakespeare in terms of influence. Arcadia is a chivalric romance, but also explores political themes. The narrative follows two foreign princes who enter Arcadia and each fall in love with a princess. Arcadia was tremendously influential in the decades following its publication. The Gloucester subplot in King Lear was taken directly from Arcadia, and the work underwent translations in multiple European languages. Arcadia went through extensive revisions by Sidney as well as multiple publications; Old Arcadia and New Arcadia are combined here. This edition of Arcadia also includes selected sonnets by Sidney, along with his Defense of Poesie and Astrophel and Stella, a sequence of sonnets and songs. Sidney dedicated Arcadia to his sister, the Countess of Pembroke, and it is she who is responsible for this publication. This particular edition includes an attempt by Sir William Alexander (1577-1640), a poet and politician, to bridge the gap between Old Arcadia and New Arcadia in order to combine the narratives. This volume includes some reader’s marks, including the words “read” and “good” along with other markings. The quarto-sized book maintains its original binding and is 624 (paper) pages long, though it is in somewhat fragile shape. -- Sarah Walcott For more information, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entries for William Alexander and Sir Philip Sidney.

Adoption Price: $100

ADOPTED!


Michael Drayton (1563-1631)

The works of Michael Drayton, esq; a celebrated poet in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth, King James I. and Charles I. ... Being all the writings of that celebrated author, now first collected into one volume

London, Printed by J. Hughs, and sold by R. Dodsley [etc.] 1748

Description: This large volume includes the compiled works of the prolific writer and poet Michael Drayton (1563-1631). It was printed by John Hughes and sold by R. Dodsley in 1748. Drayton was born in Warwickshire and came from a modest background, his father being likely a butcher or a tanner. His talent for writing brought him into prominence in the literary world, despite his continued difficulties in finding a patron. His many failed attempts to acquire the earl and countess of Bedford’s patronage appear a number of times in the dedications of his writings. Drayton moved to London in 1590 to write and find patrons for his works, publishing his first printed work in 1591: The Harmonie of the Church. In 1593 he published the first of his many historical poems that are of particular interest and distinction in this collected work. The complaint mode, fashionable at this time, appears prominently in this first work: Piers Gaveston, Earle of Cornwall, as it would later in his famous Mirror for Magistrates. He also wrote Matilda: The Faire and Chaste Daughter of the Lord Robert Fitzwater in 1594 and in 1596 The Tragicall Legend of Robert, Duke of Normandy. In 1603 Drayton republished his earlier work Mortimeriados concerning the civil wars during the reign of Edward II as The Barrons Wars, which is included in this volume. Of particular interest in this book is Drayton’s 1597 work Englands Heroicall Epistles, which was one of his most popular publications. This composition of epistles written as if they were exchanged between some of England’s most famous lovers, was modelled after Ovid’s Heroides. Although it was focused more on the English fashion for history stories than legend. Some of the paired lovers in this work include Henry II and his mistress Rosamund, Isabella of France and her lover Mortimer, and Margaret of Anjou and her supposed lover William de la Pole. Drayton had added notes to each and dedicated the letters to various aristocrats, a choice of particular political significance since many of the poems centered on the fall of princes. Further, this work is striking because a great deal of the letters are voiced by female subjects, allowing for Drayton’s vision of the female position of these events in English history to come forth. -- Danielle Alesi

Adoption Price: $25

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Photo of Famous Utopia's title page
The title page of Famous Utopias.

various authors

Famous Utopias; being the complete text of Rousseau's Social contract, More's Utopia, Bacon's New Atlantis, Campanella's City of the sun, with an introduction by Charles M. Andrews, PH.D

New York, Tudor publishing co. [c1937]

Note: 2016 is the 500th anniversary of Thomas More's Utopia.

Adoption Price: $25

ADOPTED!


Madame de Villedieu (d. 1683)

Oeuvres de mademoiselle Desiardins

A Paris, Chez Thomas Iolly, 1668

Adoption Price: $25

ADOPTED!


Drama

photo of title page of The Innocent Usurper

Title page of The Innocent Usurper. Photo courtesy of Sarah Walcott. Copyright: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University Libraries.

John Banks (d.1706)

The innocent usurper, or, The death of the Lady Jane Gray : a tragedy

London : Printed for R. Bentley ..., 1694

Description: The Innocent Usurper, or, The Death of the Lady Jane Gray: A Tragedy is a play written by John Banks (1652/3-1706). Originally trained in the law, Banks began his playwriting career in his mid-twenties. Many of his plays are drawn from historical events, including The Innocent Usurper. This interpretation of Lady Jane Grey’s story has her attempting to refuse the crown, only to be persuaded to take it when her husband threatens suicide if she does not comply. Although he was able to have The Innocent Usurper published, Banks’ attempts to stage the play were thwarted by the Lord Chamberlain. This political censorship, in addition to the play’s place as one of the earliest of many retellings of Lady Jane Grey’s story, highlights this work as significant. This is a first edition of the play, published in 1694, and has been quarter bound in red leather with marbled paper over boards. It is quarto sized, 60 pages long, and includes a dedication signed “J. Banks.” -- Sarah Walcott For more information, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for John Banks.

Adoption Price: $50

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John Banks (d.1706)

Virtue betray'd; or, Anna Bullen: a tragedy, acted at His Royal Highness the Duke's theatre

London, T. Longman, 1753

Description: This work was published in London by T. Longman in 1753 and was written by the playwright John Banks. Banks (1652-1706) was originally trained in law but wrote his first tragedy, The Rival Kings, after being inspired by Nathaniel Lee’s The Rival Queens, produced for Drury Lane in 1677. Although his 1681 play Cyrus the Great was a failure and rejected to be performed, Banks revised his style and began to produce dramas based on history, a fashionable endeavor for early modern England. Vertue Betray’d or Anna Bullen was produced in March 1682 and staged at Dorset Garden. It was in this work that Banks pioneered the “She-tragedy” that would be an immensely popular dramatic form in during the Restoration. This genre typically abandoned the idea of poetic justice in order to emphasize the perpetual suffering of an innocent heroine.

Anne Boleyn, the tragic heroine of this play, remains the most notorious and well-remembered of Henry VIII’s ill-fated wives. Many of the recent depictions of Anne Boleyn following her execution in 1536 were either exceptionally negative or overly positive, depending on the political climate of the time. This work is striking because it provides a depiction of Anne that neither deplored her as a witch and a Jezebel nor raised her up as a saint and martyr. Further, it does not frame Henry VIII as the main character in opposition of Anne, but Henry Percy, the ill-fated love match Anne had attempted to make before her marriage to King Henry, providing a fascinating interpretation of Anne’s life and loves. -- Danielle Alesi

Note: Bound with: Young, Edward, Busiris, king of Egypt; Lee, Nathanial, Theodosius; and Dryden, John, Oedipus

Note: two copies, one from 1735, one from 1733

Adoption Price: $50, each



Photo of dedication to the Reader in Shakespeare's first folio
The poem, or dedication, to the Reader in Shakespeare's First Folio. Copyright: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University Libraries.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Mr. William Shakespeare's comedies, histories, & tragedies : published according to the true original copies

Other title: First Folio

London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard and Ed. Blount, 1623

Note: the comedies are the ones up for adoption in 2016 (tragedies and histories will come in future fundraiser): (1) The Tempest [$750]; (2) The Two Gentlemen of Verona [$250] ADOPTED!!; (3) The Merry Wives of Windsor [$500]; (4) Measure for Measure [$500]; (5) The Comedy of Errors [$250]; (6) Much Ado About Nothing [$1,000]; (7) Love's Labour's Lost [$500]; (8) A Midsummer Night's Dream [$1,000] ADOPTED!!; (9) The Merchant of Venice [$500] ADOPTED!!; (10) As You Like It [$1,000]; (11) The Taming of the Shrew [$500] ADOPTED!!; (12) All's Well That Ends Well [$500]; (13) Twelfth Night [$1,000] ADOPTED!!; (14) The Winter's Tale [$500]

Description:The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has the privilege of being the home to Shakespeare’s First Folio containing the completed works of plays by the infamous playwright. Though his name often is initially associated with history plays or Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare’s comedies contain some of his most popular plays of his career. Enthusiasts of history, English, and drama alike will be fascinated and delighted by the sheer volume of the first folio! This vast volume contains the fruit of Shakespeare’s labors, world renown. Shakespeare’s comedies demonstrate the wit and clever use of language to make social commentary on the politics of England during his life, as well as a mastery of verse and humor. The comedies include: The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Measure for Measure, The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, Love’s Labor’s Lost, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, and The Winter’s Tale. -- Emily Schmidt For more about the First Folio, see the British Library page

Adoption Price: prices listed with each comedy above



Famous Authors

Ben Jonson (1573?-1637)

The works of Ben. Johnson. Adorn'd with cuts [images]

London, Printed for J. Walthoe [etc.] 1716

Note: five volumes

Note: volume 1. Every man in his humour. Every man out of his humour. Cynthia's revels. Poetaster.; volume 2. Sejanus. Volpone. Epicoene, or The silent woman. The alchymist. ADOPTED!; volume 3. Catiline's conspiracy. Epigrams. The forest. Entertainments, masques, speeches, &c.; volume 4. Bartholomew Fair. The staple of news. The devil is an ass. The magnetick lady.; volume 5. A tale of a a tub. The sad shepherd. Under-woods. Mortimer's fall. Masques.; volume 6. Masques. Horace's Art of poetry, translated into English verse. The English grammar. Explorata. The new inn. Leges convivales: rules for the tavern academy

Description for Volume 6This is the final volume of the collected works of the celebrated English playwright and author, Ben Jonson (1572-1637). The volumes were published in 1716 and 1717 by J. Walthoe, M. Wotton, J. Nicholson, J. S print, G. Conyers, B. Tooke, D. Midwinter, T. Ballard, B. Cowse, F. Tonson, and W. Innys in London.

Jonson was a contemporary of William Shakespeare and is seen as one of the most important playwrights in England in Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Carolinian years. This volume, number 6 of 6, contains several of his masques written between 1623 and 1630 (for both royal and non-royal courts), his English grammar text, “Timber: Or Discoveries made upon men and matter” and a comedy titled “The New Inn.” While this supposedly is the collected works of Jonson, there are several key works missing, which should have appeared in this volume, namely, his early Jacobean masques, which cemented his patronage from Queen Anna and King James. However, these works are important cultural artifacts from the early seventeenth century, and the fact that the many publishers/editors printed them at all shows part of their contemporary appeal. The lead printer, J. Walthoe, had his printing shop in the Middle Temple Cloisters and his bookstore in Stafford. -- Courtney Herber

Adoption Price: $50, each volume

Volume 2 ADOPTED!


Photo of title page for Paradise Lost
The title page for Paradise Lost. Copyright: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University Libraries.
letter included with book
Letter included with book. Photo courtesy of Sarah Walcott. Copyright: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University Libraries.

John Milton (1608-1674)

Paradise lost. a poem in ten books.

London, Printed by S. Simmons, 1669

Description: Paradise Lost, a touchstone of English poetry, was written between approximately 1658 and 1663 and published for the first time in 1667. John Milton (1608-1674) was an English poet and polemicist who is posthumously remembered as an influential republican. Paradise Lost, is by far his most famous work, and the one which cemented his place as an influential English poet. Paradise Lost, is a Biblical narrative, tracing two arcs: that of Satan and that of Adam and Eve. The epic poem was the first English poem to be edited and annotated in the tradition of classical texts. The work was not only significant stylistically, as it influenced a shift from rhymed to blank verse in the eighteenth century, but also thematically, as the Romantics embraced Milton’s idea of the sublime. His popularity in England climbed through the nineteenth century, finally falling in the twentieth, though he remains a literary icon. This copy is one of many first editions of the epic, meaning that it has ten books rather than the twelve of later editions. It is quarto sized, with 353 pages. This text includes a letter from the Society of Antiquaries of London, dated June 12, 1869. The letter, written to a Mr. Durham (the owner of the text), verifies that the book is a seventh first edition based on details of the title page. It also includes information on how much Milton was paid for the work (five pounds up front, five pounds more after the first 1,000 copies were sold, another five pounds after an additional 1,300 sales, and eight pounds to his widow after his death). It is signed by William Beal, a member of the Society. The book also includes two nameplates, presumably indicating ownership. The first includes the name Samuel Lawrence; the second, which is placed on top of the first, bears the name Wynne Edwin Baxter. Baxter (1844-1920) is best known as the coroner of East London who conducted inquests on several victims of Jack the Ripper. This work is, quite simply, a historical treasure trove. -- Sarah Walcott For more information, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for John Milton, and the National Archives

Adoption Price: $500

ADOPTED!


John Dryden (1631-1700)

King Arthur: or, The British worthy. A dramatic opera. Perform'd at the Queens theater by their Majesties servants / Written by Mr. Dryden

London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, at the Judges-Head in Chancery-Lane near Fleetstreet, 1691

Note: handwritten notes on pg. 34

Adoption Price: $50

ADOPTED!


John Dryden (1631-1700)

Fables ancient and modern / translated into verse, from Homer, Ovid, Boccaccio, & Chaucer: with original poems. By Mr. Dryden. [Three lines in Latin]

London : Printed for Jacob Tonson, within Gray's Inn Gate next Gray's Inn Lane, 1700

Contents:

Dedication. - The preface. - Poem to Her Grace the Duchess of Ormond, with the following story from Chaucer: Palamon and Arcite; or, The Knight's tale. - To my honoured kinsman John Dryden. - Meleager and Attlanta, out of Ovid's Metamorphoses. - Sigismonda and Guiscardo, from Boccaccio. - Bauris and Philemon: Pigmalion and the statue; Ciniras and Myrrha: out of Ovid's Metamorphoses. - The first book of Homer's Ilias

The cock and the fox: or, The tale of the Nun's priest, from Chaucer. - Theodore and Honoria, from Boccace. - Ceyxe and Alcyone, out of Ovid's Metamorphoses. - The flower and the leaf: or, The lady in the arbor. / A vision out of Chaucer. - Alexander's feast: or, The power of musick. An ode in honour of St. Cecilia. - The twelfth book of Ovid's Metamorphoses wholly translated

The speeches of Ajax and Ulysses, from Ovid's Metamorphoses. -The wife of Bath, her tale, from Chaucer. - Of the Pythagorean phylosophy, from Ovid's Metamorphoses. - The character of a good parson imitated, from Chaucer, and enlarged

The monument of a fair maiden lady, who dy'd at the Bath, and is there interr'd. - Aymon and Iphegnin, from Boccaccio. - The Knight's tale: The tale of the Nun's priest; The floure and the leafe: The Wife of Bathe's tale, as written by Chaucer

Description: This is the first edition of Fables Ancient and Modern by John Dryden published in 1700, the year of Dryden’s death. John Dryden was an English poet, playwright and literary critic. He was born in 1631 and attended school at Trinity College in Cambridge. In 1668 John was made England’s first poet laureate by King Charles II, and two years later he was appointed as the royal historiographer. Fables Ancient and Modern includes Dryden’s translations and modern adaptations of stories by Chaucer, Ovid, Boccaccio, and Homer. After the dedication and preface, Dryden begins with his version of Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale.” Other stories included are the myths of Meleager and Atlanta as well as Pygmallion and the Statue from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the first book of Homer’s Illiad, and the story of Cymon and Iphigenia from Boccaccio’s The Decameron. These are only a few of the many fables which Dryden artfully translated into English verse. Also at the very end of the book appear “The Knight’s Tale,” “The Tale of the Nun’s Priest,” and “The Flower and the Leaf: The Wife of Bath’s Tale” as written by Chaucer. Each story has its own title page, and there is a table of contents at the end of the book. However, there is an error in the paging as pages 272 through 359 have been omitted. Lastly, inside the front cover of the folio there is a bookplate with the Latin motto “esse quam videri” meaning “I wish to be rather than to be seen” and the name of Reverend Richard Congreve. -- Maureen Owens

Adoption Price: $50

ADOPTED!


Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

Travels into several remote nations of the world. By Capt. Lemuel Gulliver. Vol. III

London, 1721

Adoption Price: $500



Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

The works of Alexander Pope, esq., with his last corrections, additions, and improvements; as they were delivered to the editor a little before his death; together with the commentaries and notes of Mr. Warburton

London, Printed for J. and P. Knapton [etc.] 1751

Note: five volumes

Volume 1. Juvenile poems; Volume 2. Translations and imitations ADOPTED!; Volume 3. Moral essays ADOPTED!; Volume 4. Satires, &c. ADOPTED!; Volume 5. The Dunciad, in four books.

Adoption Price: $50, each volume



Petrarch Francesco (1304-1374)

Il Petrarcha : con l'espositione d'Alessandro Vellutello di nouo ristampato con le figure a i Triomphi et con piu cose vtili in varii luoghi aggiunte

In Venetia : Appresso Gabriel Gioli di Ferrarii, 1544

Note: Commentary surrounds text. Engraved title pages with ornamental border and printer's device; engraved head and tail pieces; engraved initials; bound in calf with gold-tooling on covers and spine; some text on pgs. [241-243] marked out; some water-stained pages.

Adoption Price: $100

ADOPTED!


Ovid (43 B.C. - 17 A.D.)

Ovid's Art of love, in three books. : Together with his Remedy of love. / Translated into English verse by several eminent hands. To which are added, The court of love, a tale from Chaucer: and The history of love. Adorn'd with cuts [images]

Printed for J. Tonson at Shakespeare's Head in the Strand, 1735

Description: This translation of Ovid’s Art of Love was published in 1735. Publius Ovidus Naso (aka Ovid) was a popular Roman Poet during the time of Emperor Augustus. Despite his popularity, Ovid was banished from Rome in 8 A.D. where he lived until his death. According to Ovid, his exile was the cause of “carmen et error” – a poem and an error. The poem which caused such a scandal is widely believed the Ars Armatoria or in English the Art of Love. The first publication of this version was in 1709. This edition was published in 1735, has been rebound, and is adorned with elegant illustrations. Also, on the title page of the book, it appears that a woman by the name of Sarah Moore wrote her name over that of a previous author. The Art of Love is an instruction manual for how to properly love a man or woman. For example, Ovid suggests to young men that “all Women may be won; Attempt with Confidence and the Work is done” (17). Though the first two books are focused for a male audience, the third book offers instructions on relationship skills and techniques for women as well. Dryden suggests in his section of notes after the translation of the first part the book is recommended for “those that intend to marry” (39).

The translation of the first two sections of Ovid’s Art of Love from Latin into English was done by John Dryden, a late seventeenth century English poet, playwright and critic. The third and final section of Ovid’s Art of Love was translated by William Congreve, a late seventeenth and early eighteenth century English poet and playwright. After the translation of each section, the translators provide a brief sections of notes on the text. In addition to the Art of Love, this book also includes several other works. The first is a translation of Ovid’s Remedy for Love translated by Nahum Tate, a late seventeenth and early eighteenth century Irish poet, playwright and translator. Next, there is a metrical paraphrase of Chaucer’s The Court of Love by the early seventeenth and late eighteenth century English politician and author Arthur Maynwaring. During his life Maynwaring promoted Congreve’s work as well as the work of other writers. Lastly, there is a poem titled The History of Love. A Poem in a Letter to a Lady by Charles Hopkins a late seventeenth century English poet and playwright. The poem incorporates elements from other works by Ovid such as the Metamorphoses and Heroides and was often appended to publications of Dryden’s translation of the Art of Love. -- Maureen Owens

Adoption Price: $100

ADOPTED!


Ovid (43 B.C. - 17 A.D.), and George Sandys (1578-1644)

Metamorphoses. English. Ovid's Metamorphosis. Englished by G. S[andys]

London [Printed by W. Stansby] 1626.

Description: Classical Roman poet Ovid wrote the famous epic Metamorphoses that chronicles the history of the world from creation to the deification of Julius Caesar. Ovid gives the Roman pantheon of gods a certain anthropomorphic vividness that makes them relatable to the mortal audience while also symbolic the immortal concept of law and order in the changing Roman Empire. Sandys translation into English during the Renaissance shows the impact of the Humanist revival that took place in England. Classical works were translated and learned by scholars who reiterated the importance of Greek and Latin classics, harking back to a “golden age” of learning and politics. The book itself is a marvel to look at as well as read, and would be of particular interest to those who have a passion for studying history as well as classics. This translation serves as a tangible piece of the Renaissance; a work from antiquity brought to light centuries after its initial publication to continue to serve as an important part of a well-rounded education for scholars and politicians alike. -- Emily Schmidt

Adoption Price: $50

ADOPTED!


Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Divina commedia

Other title: Divine Comedy

Lyone, Appresso G. Rouillio, 1551

Adoption Price: $100

ADOPTED!


Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375)

Il decamerone / di M. Giovan Boccaccio ; nvovamente alla sva intera perfettione, non meno nella scrittvra, che nelle parole ridotto per Girolamo Rvscelli ; con le dichiarationi, annotationi, et avvertimenti del medesimo, sopra tvtti i luoghi difficili, regole, modi, & ornamenti della lingua uolgare ; et con figure nuoue & bellissimi, che interamente dimostrano i luoghi, ne' quali si riduceuano ogni giornata à nouellare ; et con vn vocabolario generale nel fine del libro

Other title: The Decameron

In Venetia : Appresso Vincenzo Valgrisio ... 1552

Description:Written in the fourteenth century (probably finished around 1353), the Decameron stands as one of the most important texts of the Renaissance. A series of 100 fictional tales, the Decameron inspired other authors, like Geoffrey Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales, and was especially important because its author, Giovanni Boccaccio, wrote in his vernacular Florentine Italian. Boccaccio (1313-1375) was most likely inspired by the Black Death plague that had raged through Europe at the time, and its explorations of love, virtue, and fortune in the face of plague are memorable (as well as its mockery of the clergy). This particular edition was printed in 1552 in Venice and was edited by Girolamo Ruscelli, who was an Italian cartographer, editor, and a humanist. One of his most important works was a revision of Ptolemy’s Geographia, and he founded The Academy of Secrets in the mid-sixteenth century.

This volume includes several reader’s marks, mostly likely written by an owner of the book in the early nineteenth century, J. J. Arendt, who signed his name and “1818” on the title page and subsequent pages. -- Courtney Herber

Adoption Price: $100

ADOPTED!