Boska komedja … tłómaczenie Juliana Korsaka.

Warsaw, S. Orgelbranda, 1860.

4to, pp. 739; engraved frontispiece and 15 plates, after Dumont; large waterstain throughout up to p. 336, recurring tears to the gutter (mostly repaired), occasional tears to the edge of pages, minor spotting and stains, the final leaf backed with tape; a very good copy bound in modern half calf with marbled boards, speckled edges; spine with gilt lettering- pieces; ink-stamped by Juvenat Toruń-Bielany O.O. Redemptorystów and as a duplicate by Biblioteki Prowincjalnej O.O. Redemptorystów; some line-numbers added in pencil throughout.


US $3010€3070

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Rare. First edition of the first complete verse translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy into Polish, in adjacent and alternating rhymes, complete with all sixteen engravings.

There had been considerable interest in Dante in Poland, particularly in view of the increase in travel between Poland and Italy in the eighteenth century. However, although he had been mentioned in plays and his Divine Comedy published in Latin versions (notably by Faustus Socinus under the auspices of the Polish Brethren), this was the first full translation into Polish. It was published posthumously in 1860; the translator, Julian Korsak (1807-1855), was a Romantic poet and friend of Mickiewicz. This marked a spurt of Dante publications: only five years later, Poland, along with the rest of Europe, celebrated the six hundredth anniversary of Dante’s birth with periodicals and a commemorative poem by the romanticist Teofil Lenartowicz (K. A. Paully Zbierańska, ‘Dante in Poland: A Retrospect’, The Polish Review, 11.3 (1966), pp. 56-61).

Korsak’s translation is augmented by a full introduction (79 pages) discussing Dante’s life, the literary tradition and reception of the Divine Comedy, its philosophical, historical, and moral significance, and the role of symbolism both in Christian art and literature generally and in the Divine Comedy. Alongside the translation are extensive notes based on the commentaries of Giosafatte Biagioli and Karl Streckfuss. The frontispiece is an illustration of Canto 28 of Purgatory, depicting Dante extending his arms to the young woman gathering flowers.

COPAC records no copies; OCLC adds only 4 in the US (at Harvard, Buffalo, Cornell, and St. Mary’s College).

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