THE MANIFESTO OF ITALIAN BAROQUE VERSE

La Murtoleide fischiate del cavalier Marino con la Marineide risate del Murtola.

‘Norinbergh’ [i.e. Venice], Ioseph Stamphier, 1619.

12mo, pp. 1-142, [22], 143-146, [168]; small typographical ornament to title; a little uniform browning and some light waterstaining to the lower portion of sheets; contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco lettering-pieces; joints cracked but holding, spine end a little chipped, corners worn, some rubbing and abrasions to the surface; purchase note of Francesco Saverio Esperti dated 1813 to rear end-paper and Esperti’s ownership inscription on title.

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Rare first edition of the manifesto of Italian Baroque poetry, appearing in the bitterly satirical ‘literary feud’ between the leading Italian baroque poet Giambattista Marino and his adversary, Gasparo Murtola. Marino, who thrived in his notoriously misbehaving public persona, had been banned from several courts, while his opponent Murtola had enjoyed a formal position with the Savoy and - indeed used it to have Marino jailed. Released through the offices of several influential friends in 1615, Marino took refuge in France. His collection of anti-Murtola verse, Murtoleide, circulated widely in manuscript before appearing in print for the first time in 1619. Murtola’s in-kind reply, the Marineide, asserted the latter’s position immediately and was published alongside it.

The Murtoleide is articulated in ‘whistles’. It is in the thirty-third ‘whistle’ that we find a tercet that has since been seen as the manifesto of Italian baroque poetry. ‘The aim of the poet - I speak of the excellent, not of the clumsy - is to arouse wonder. He who cannot astonish: go and work in the stables.’

Vinciana 2965 (‘prima ediz. assai pregiata); Gay III, 295; RMRE 001149; VD17 12:636496G; USTC 4011740. OCLC finds no copies in UK or US, and only a handful in continental Europe.

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