Folio, ff. [vii], 182, ; Estienne’s woodcut device to title; small marginal wormhole through the first four quires, title and another few spreads soiled, light waterstaining to the upper margin of the initial quires and the final leaf, upper inner corner of last leaf chipped, some sparse staining; contemporary panelled calf, panelled sides with multiple frames of urns and palmettes; rebacked, corners repaired, sides worn; ownership inscriptions to title (?Johannes Paliost, with purchase price record of 38 sous, later inscription ?Margnan), occasional contemporary marginalia, ownership inscription to upper pastedown (‘Lazard’) dated 1750, modern bookplate (Froissart).
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Comoediae sex, tum ex Donati commentariis … diligentius quam unquam antehac emendatae; Aelii Donati … in easdem quicunque extant commentarii … Calphurnii in tertiam comoediam doctissima interpretatio; eorum quae in commentariis sparsim annotata sunt index amplissimus.
First folio edition of Terence’s comedies by Robert Estienne. The printer had already produced a small, octavo edition of Terence’s works in 1526. Confident in its success, and through access to an excellent and ancient manuscript of the fourth-century commentary by Aelius Donatus, ‘in 1529 he published a more ambitious edition of the comedies with the commentaries of Donatus’ (Armstrong, p. 79).
The fortune of Terence in Western culture was uninterrupted, made secure by a continuous didactic use of his texts by the clergy. Such fortune and dissemination lent this author, who by his name is believed to be the first writer of the African diaspora, exceptional influence on Renaissance and early modern literature. No playwright of the Shakespearian age, for example, would be exempt from Terentian echoes if not direct references. Terence’s plays were part of the set Latin syllabus of the neoclassical age.
Adams T-322; Renouard, p. 30, no. 16; Schreiber 39 (calling for 178 ff. only). See Armstrong, Robert Estienne, Royal Printer: An historical Study of the elder Stephanus (1954).
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