La Famosa y temeraria compañia de Rompe Columnas. Traduzida, y acrescentada, por el Capitan Flegetonte, comico inflamado. Con dos discursos, el uno en loor, y el otro en vituperio de amor.

Paris, Joseph Cotterau, 1609.

12mo, pp. [12], ‘02’ [i.e. 202]; somewhat browned, marginal paper repairs to several leaves towards the end, small marginal wormhole to final few leaves; withal a good copy in nineteenth-century half red morocco; nineteenth-century bookplate of Francisco Ramirez de Arellano, Marqués de la Fuensanta del Valle.


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First edition, rare, a loose translation by Antonio de Melo of the burlesque Della compagnia de Tagliacantoni (1601), by Tommaso Buoni.

‘Capitán Flegetonte’ was the Portuguese-born actor Antonio de Melo, part of an Italian commedia dell’arte troupe then active in Paris, and he brought two works to press there in 1609. One of the commedia characters in which he evidently specialised was the blustering ‘Il Capitano’, often a Spaniard, and the present work describes the members (‘el Capitan Encuentra murallas, el Capitan Vomita saetas, el Capitan Despedaça cadenas …)’, rules of behaviour and outlandish martial abilities of a society of such braggards. Italian comedies, and Spanish rodomontades, had become very popular in France in the first years of the seventeenth century, and a number of dual-language Rodomuntadas castellanas and Fieros españoles had been published in Paris. Here Melo has extended Buoni’s Italian original by six chapters and relocated the company from northern Italy to ‘Arabia desierta’. A list of thirty-two adjectives to describe the company (‘tremenda … terrible … elefantina … diabolica’) prefaces the work; the rules cover clothing, arms, mode of speech, even how to sleep (naked, on a hard surface).

OCLC shows copies at Kansas, Dresden, and the National Libraries of France and Spain. KvK adds Biblioteca Alessandrina Rome; not in COPAC.

Carmen Marín Pina, ‘La Famosa y temeraria compañia de Rompe Columnas (1609) del Capitán Flegetonte. Traducción de un texto de Tommaso Buoni y el género de las rodomontadas’, Rivista di filologia e letterature ispaniche, XIII, 2010.

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