Dante Alighieri. Le terze rime. [Venice: Aldus, 1502]. 8vo. a-z8 A-G8 H4 (-a1); [243 of 244] ff.
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mouse-over, for an enlargement.
First Aldine printing of the Divine Comedy, the first printing of Bembo’s restoration of Dante’s original text, the first printing of Dante in octavo format, and, on the verso of the colophon leaf, the first appearance of the Aldine printer’s device.
In at least one copy, the new Aldine device is surrounded by a double-line
woodcut border. Here, that border has largely been removed from the wood block
used—but not entirely, for small regularly spaced “dots” of
it are still visibleSEE LEFT. In yet other
copies, all traces of the border have been removed, and in some others there
is no anchor device at all, indicating differing states of the edition. Clearly
the press was “tweaking” its logo!
The text is from a manuscript that Pietro Bembo, the greatest Dante scholar
of the Italian Renaissance, supplied to Aldus for this edition specifically.
It is radically different from the Landino version that circulated in manuscript
in the 15th century and was used for the incunable editions. This Bembo version
held sway until the end of the 19th century.
Renouard, Alde, 34.5; Adams D83; Olschki, Le livre
en Italien, 37; Index Aurel. 149.817; The Aldine Press: Catalogue
of the Ahmanson-Murphy Collection 59.5. Late 18th- or early 19th-century
vellum over boards; round spine with two spine labels. Title-page wanting
fine pen and ink facsimile. Minor repair to one inner margin, not touching
text. Volume housed in a good cloth open-back case with inner corset; round
spine with gilt-lettered leather label. A
very nice, clean, unwashed copy.
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