Rome, J. Besicken 12 December 1503.
Folio (280 x 148 mm.). [ii], , , , , [1 blank], p. Roman type, three-line white-line floriated woodcut initials. THE TWO OUTER BIFOLIA OF THE FIRST QUIRE ARE PRINTED ON VELLUM.
Contemporary Roman binding of blind-tooled and red-painted calf over beveled wooden boards decorated with two different ropework stamps, palm leaves, circles, flames, trefoils, daisies and a foliage-fan tool that is used in the corners and for the central medallion; four repoussé brass catches (clasps gone, late 17th-century repairs to the four outer corners, panels and spine slightly wormed).
Only Edition: poems and prose representative of the brilliant cultural circle at the Aragonese court in Naples. Calenzio (1430-1502/3) was, first, King Federico’s tutor, then his trusted diplomat and treasurer.
His son Lucio enlisted his father’s friend, the humanist Colocci (1474-1549), to shepherd his father’s works through the press, including his Croacus or Battle of the Frogs and Mice, his most frequently reprinted piece. As editor, Colocci often radically intervened, rewriting entire passages. He did not, however, suppress the author’s obscene poems, licentious letters, scandalous fable (Cineus and Philaeus retold) or erotic epigrams. (Some transgressive words have been censored by a later hand.) Other works include orations on the fall of Constantinople, royal epithalamia, amorous autobiographical lines and the earliest explicit account of THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL PLASTIC SURGERIES (performed by the Brancas in Sicily). Apparently, at the last minute, Colocci canceled one piece promised on the title (Satyra ad Longum), likely unwilling to face the repercussions.
Intimate with book production, Colocci not only prepared Calenzio’s manuscripts for this edition and worked with Besicken on two collections of vernacular sonnets and songs, but also, from 1516, hosted the Greek College in Rome, housed its press and oversaw its production. This folio’s unusual quiring scheme may well reflect chaotic text preparation and stop-press corrections. Indeed, Colocci emended this, his own copy, in three places by hand. The four vellum leaves have their woodcut initials masked out for illumination.
This copy survived the disastrous looting of Colocci’s library during the Sack of Rome (1527) and stayed in the family until after 1600. He was the first to collect contemporary vernacular literary manuscripts (these he removed from Rome prior the Sack). The title bears two stamps, one of the Colocci arms and the other of Francesco Colocci (fl. C16/17). Some foxing and a few margins slightly stained. A marvelous enigmatic copy. My thanks to Dott. Marco Bernardi.
¶Bernardi, “Per la ricostruzione della biblioteca colocciana: Lo stato dei lavori” in Angelo Colocci e gli studi romanzi edd. Bologna & Bernardi 21-83; Calenzio, Guerra della ranocchie: Croaca edizione critica ed. L. Monti Sabia (2008); Campana, “Angelo Colocci conservatore ed editore di letteratura umanistica” in Atti del Convegno di studi su A.C. Jesi, 13-14.IX.1969 (1972) 257-72 & 268-9,3; Gnudi, The Life and Times of Gaspare Tagliacozzi Surgeon of Bologna 110-2, 282 & 492,48; Lattès, “Studi letterari e filologici di Angelo Colocci” in Atti del Convegno di studi su A.C. Jesi, 13-14.IX.1969 (1972) 243-55.