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An absolute gem of sixteenth-century book production

Folengo, Teofilo (1491-1544).

Opus Merlini Cocaii Poetae Mantuani Macaronicorum, totum inpristinam formam per me Magistrum Acquarium Lodolam optime redactum, in his infra notatistitulis divisum... .

Folengo, Teofilo (1491-1544). Opus Merlini Cocaii Poetae Mantuani Macaronicorum, totum inpristinam formam per me Magistrum Acquarium Lodolam optime redactum, in his infra notatistitulis divisum... . Toscolano, Alessandro Paganini, 5 January 1521.

16° (120x72 mm). Collation: A-Z8, AA-MM8. 272, [8] leaves. Italic, gothic, and roman type. Fifty-four full-page woodcut illustrations in text. Nineteenth-century red morocco, signed by Parisian binder Hippolyte Duru (1803-1884). Spine with five raised bands, title lettered in gilt. Marbled flyleaves. Inside dentelles, edges marbled and gilt. A fine copy.

Provenance: the famous writer and bibliophile Charles Nodier (1780-1844, his ex libris on the front pastedown and his own note on the rarity of the book and its condition, written on a small card pasted onto the second front flyleaf; cf. C. Nodier, Catalogue raisonné d'une jolie collection de livres, Paris 1844, lot 270); Antonio Marzorati (on the front flyleaf the stamp of the bookseller Lauria of Paris and a note in pencil, ‘È l'esemplare Marzorati – nr. 388 del suo catalogo”; cf. Catalogo della Biblioteca Marzorati, Bologna 1932, lot 388).

$ 16,500

The first illustrated edition of the Macaronee, the second issued by Paganini, and the third overall, considering the mere reprint appeared in Milan in 1520. The 1521 publication is known as the ‘Toscolano edition', and is the first to present the enlarged and completely revised version of Folengo's macaronic poems, with the Baldus expanded to twenty-five Books. For its content and editorial appearance, this edition is considered not only the most beautiful edition of Folengo's works, but also an absolute gem from across the entire field of sixteenth-century book production. The brilliant printer Paganini provided it with a newly cut set of illustrations destined to play an important role in the later fortune of the Macaronee. However, the Toscolano edition is important above all because it gives us the brightest and most inspired phase of Folengo's macaronic genius; a perfectly mature phase not yet dampened by the ideological or classicist inhibitions of his later period. Along with the definitive version of the Baldus, the volume contains the Zanitonella (a collection of twenty-one poems on rustic life), the Moscheide (a short poem on the battle of flies and ants, printed here for the first time), and the Libellus epistolarum et epigrammatum. At the end is a quire of eight unnumbered leavessigned MM, which is sometimes missing and is known in two different issues. The copy offered here represents the issue with the quire MM containing a brief letter exchanged between Folengo and Paganini, the errata, the Tabula facetiarum, and the sonnet Se di piacer, trastullo, gioia e spasso (cf. Nuovo, Alessandro Paganino, pp. 78-82). Two later revised versions of the poem are known: the Cipadense (published between 1530 and 1535 with false printing data) and Vigasio Cocaio from the name of the mysterious author of the preface (first printed in Venice in 1552).

Adams F-687; Nuovo, Alessandro Paganino (1509-1538), 51; PMM 62; Sander 2832; R. Dall'Ara, Folengo macaronico poeta. Girolamo, Teofilo e Merlin Cocai: il romanzo di una vita, Mantova 2004; A. Nuovo, “L'edizione toscolanese del Folengo”, G. Bernardi Perini and C. Marangoni (eds.), Teofilo Folengo nel quinto centenario della nascita, 1491-1991, Atti del convegno di studi Mantova-Brescia-Padova, 26-29 settembre 1991, Firenze 1993, pp. 387-402; M. Zaggia, “Breve percorso attraverso le quattro redazioni delle Macaronee folenghiane”, ivi, pp. 85-101.