Nuova selva di varia lettione di Gaudentio Merula, divisa in cinque libri; tradotta di Latino in lingua Italiana. Con due tavole copiosissime ...

Venice, Giovanni Andrea Valvassori, 1559.

8vo, pp. [40], 510, [2 blank]; text mostly in italic; 5 woodcuts within text, device to title, initials; slight staining to pp. 96-97; very good, crisp copy in contemporary limp vellum, yapp edges, remains of ties, title and shelf mark inked to spine; front hinge split; inscription to title ‘Oratorii Nannetensis’ with old shelfmarks at head, small label of ‘Lib. Pinchia’ to upper cover.


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Nuova selva di varia lettione di Gaudentio Merula, divisa in cinque libri; tradotta di Latino in lingua Italiana. Con due tavole copiosissime ...

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First edition in Italian of Merula’s encyclopaedic Memorabilium libri, as censored by the future Pope Sixtus V. Arranged in five books, the delightfully diverse contents cover demons and death; the planets and constellations; the four elements; love; fish, birds, animals and snakes; the leaning tower of Pisa; pyramids; earthquakes; oil and wine; trees, plants and gardens; architecture; Christianity; cosmography and geography (including a brief chapter on America); and alchemy.

Merula (1500–1555), who taught at Milan and Novara, began working on the Memorabilium in 1530 and the first edition was published in his native town of Borgolavezzaro in 1546. Further Latin editions appeared at Venice in 1550 and at Lyon in 1556 when the work attracted the attention of the censors, on account of comments by Merula attacking the luxury of the clergy and the simony of Pope Alexander VI. In this Italian translation the offending passages have been omitted: the leaf preceding p. 1 contains an approbation by Felice Peretti, the future Pope Sixtus V, who famously excommunicated Elizabeth I of England and Henry IV of France.

OCLC finds only 2 copies in the US (Chicago, NYPL). Library Hub records copies at Cambridge, Manchester, and Oxford.

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