‘NEITHER TIME NOR DEATH’INSCRIBED IN MEMORY OF A MUCH-LOVED WIFE

Il Pastor fido, tragicommedia pastorale … Ora in questa XXVII impressione di curiose, & dotte Annotationi arricchito, & di bellissime Figure in rame ornato … 

Venice, Giovanni Battista Ciotti, 1602.

4to, ff. 260, bound without engraved portrait of the author and without the second part comprising the Compendio della poesia tragicomica; with engraved title, six full-page engravings (third engraving signed by F. Valegio), woodcut head- and tailpieces, initials (some historiated), and ornaments; marginal loss to foot of f. 142, not affecting text, a few insignificant stains; handsomely bound in seventeenth-century red morocco, dentelle borders, central panel gilt with floral cornerpieces, spine gilt in eight compartments with pointillé flowers, edges gilt, marbled paper pastedowns; lacking front flyleaf, joints and spine worn, tail of spine chipped; manuscript corrections, additions, and alterations to c. 10 pp, mostly in Act 1, with various verses crossed out, and lengthy note to f. 34r.

£800

Approximately:
US $1038€951

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Revised edition, the last lifetime revision, of Guarini’s immensely popular pastoral tragicomedy, passed from father to son and with a touching ownership inscription celebrating the latter’s late wife.

‘Throughout the seventeenth century the Pastor Fido was the most widely read book of secular literature in all of Europe. Its vogue was only slightly less throughout much of the eighteenth century … and [it] still remained a work that critics felt obliged to reckon with and on which a pronouncement was expected’ (Perella, The Critical Fortune of Battista’s Guarini’s Il Pastor Fido, (1973)). Guarini revised his text over a dozen times following the publication of the first edition of Il pastor fido in 1590. The twentieth edition, published by Ciotti in 1602, is the final edition to reflect revisions to the text itself (XX impressione); the present volume is a reprint published in the same year (XXVII impressione), attesting to its popularity and influence as a literary work.

The title-page bears the ownership inscription of Claude-Énoch Virey (1566–1636), who studied law in Padua as part of a formative peregrinatio academica before being appointed First Secretary to Henry II of Bourbon, Prince of Condé. His Vers Itinéraires: chemin faisant de France en Italie (1592) details in verse his travels from France to Padua (1592) and from Padua to Rome (1593–4) amidst a period of religious and civil unrest and reflects a critical moment in Italo-French history (see Bettoni, ‘Padova nei versi di Claude-Énoch Virey’, in Padova e il suo territorio (2002), pp. 14–18).

Claude-Énoch’s son, Jean-Christophle Virey, followed in his father’s footsteps both in pursuing a career as royal advisor and by enriching the family book collection, which he increased to over four thousand volumes. He poignantly inscribes the title-page not with his own name, but that of his wife, Bonne Galoys (or Bona Gallois): ‘Bonne Galoys. Ne Morte ne Tempo’. After her death at the age of forty-five (c. 1644), he took holy orders and became an archdeacon; the Bibliothèque Numérique de Lyon finds a number of similar memorial inscriptions by Jean-Christophle, as well as bindings from his library incorporating Bonne Galoys’s funerary urn and initials.

Guigard II (1890), p. 472; see Mémoires de la Société d’histoire et d’archéologie de Châlon-sur-Saône (1866).

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