Venezia: Gabriel Giolito di Ferrarii e Fratelli, 1551. SECOND REVISED EDITION (the first was printed by Giolito in 1549) of the first title. 8vo. (8), 275, (1) leaves. With the printer’s device on the titlepage and at the end. (Bound with:) FRANCO, Niccolò (1515 -1570) DIALOGO ... DOVE SI RAGIONA DELLE BELLEZZE. 8vo, 120 leaves. With the printer’s device on the title -page. Venezia, Antonio Gardane, 1542. Bound in contemporary limp vellum, later added title labels on spine, a few tiny wormholes in the first three leaves of the second work and on the inner margins of the first work, some very light dampstains, but a very good copy. Bookplate of plate of Franz Pollack, Parnau. See Erdman 29 for the first edition of the Domenichi. The two works bound together. Item #58841
In Lodovico Domenichi’s dialogues, the female speaker, Violante Bentivoglio, thanks God exclaiming that finally a man undertook to defend the female sex when one of the male speakers begins to argue for female superiority. It’s an exception to the rule when the author permits female speakers to develop forceful argumentations in defense of their own sex (L. Prelipcean, Dialogic Construction and Interaction in Lodovico Domenichi’s ‘La nobiltà delle donne’, in: “Renaissance & Reformation”, 39/2, 2016, pp. 61.- Of great interest is the fifth dialogue, in which are listed contemporary women (from Italy and France) noteworthy for their beauty, virtue or learning (e.g. Laura Terracina) with short biographical details. Domenichi’s work was strongly influenced by Agrip-
pa’s De nobilitate et praecellentia foeminei sexu (1529), of which Giolito had published an Italian translation in 1544 (cf. F. Daenens, Superiore perché inferior. Il paradosso della superiorità della donna in alcuni trattati italiani del Cinquecento, in: Trasgressione e norma domestica”, V. Gentili, ed., Roma 1983, pp. 41. Lodovico Domenichi, a native of Piacenza, studied law at Padua and Pavia, where at the time humanists like Celio Curione and Andrea Alciati where teachers. He became a friend of Aretino and Anton Francesco Doni (these friendships later tunred to open hostility). In 1544 Domenichi started his assiduous career as a translator and editor, first for Giolito in Venice and then for Bernardo Giunti and Lorenzo Torrentino in Florence. He was involved in the clandestine printing of some heretical books and condemned to life imprisonment in the fortress of Pisa (1552). This sentence was changed into a year of banishment from Florence through the intervention of Renée de France, Duchess of Ferrara. After his return to Florence he continued to work for Torrentino and became official historiographer to the Medici court (cf. A. D’Alessandro, Prime ricerche su Lodovico Domenichi, in “Le corti Farnesiane di Parma e Piacenza, 1545- 1622”, II, 1978, pp. 171.
The Second work is the FIRST OCTAVO EDITION. The work was originally printed in quarto by Gioanantonio Guidone, at Casale di Monferrato in April of the same year. To both editions are added at the end some stanzas and letters by Franco. Antonio Gardane, French born composer and musical publisher, printed only three books not pertaining to music, all written by his friend Niccolò Franco (cf. M.S. Lewis, Antonio Gardano, Venetian Music Printer, 1538-1569: a Descriptive Bibliography and Historical Study,
New York, 1988.-2005, I, pp. 22-23). Franco’s Dialogo, dedicated to Maria d'Aragona, sister of Giovanna d'Aragona and wife of Alfonso d’Avalos, was partly inspired by Leon Abravanel’s Dialogo d’amore (1535). “Niccolò Franco, the author of the prose romance
Filena , also published one of the more intriguing dialogues on the subject of beauty... Franco composed his lengthy dialogue, which is not often studied today, in Casale di Monferrato were he had taken refuge... Franco sets his dia-logue in the house of a woman named Buona Soarda, who is hosting a large group of distinguished erudite men. Here comments about beauty and the good lead to a long series of didactic refutations by her guests, who continually seek to put her in her place for presuming to know something about the true nature of beauty. Her name, meaning 'Good', would appear to be emblematic, since she typically expresses notions about the nature of goodness that Franco regards as simplicistic... In this work, Franco seems to want to set aside the irreverent tone of his earlier anti -Petrarchism and occasional scurrilous verses. In fact, the male speakers of the Dialogo consistently aim to express the loftiest anti -materialistic tenets of Neoplatonism.
Niccolò Franco, born of a modest family in Benevento, was first tutored by his brother Vincenzo, a schoolmaster, and later sought his fortune in the literary circles of the nearby Naples. In 1535 he published his first work, a collection of Latin epigrams, Hisabella . One year later he moved to Venice, where through his friendship with the typographer Francesco Marcolini and the poet Quinto Gherardo, he was introduced in the circle of Pietro Aretino. The latter took him as a secretary and entrusted him the publication of his first book of letters, in which he repeatedly praised the qualities of his new protégé, predicting him a brilliant career. But the characters of the two men were similar to such a degree that they precluded a lasting friendship. Whatever the reason for the break (probably Franco’s
intention to publish a book of letters in imitation of that of his master), it came violently in summer 1538. Thereafter the works of both became battleground of hostility. Aretino completely suppressed the laudatory remarks on Franco in the later editions of his letters and Franco painted a grotesque portrait of Aretino in the letter A la Invidia (To Jealousy). In mid-1539 he was slashed in the face by one of Aretino’s secretaries and Franco resolved to leaves Venice, where his position had become too risky. On a travel to France he stopped at Casale Monferrato, where he remained for seven years founding the Accademia degli Argonauti and publishing some of his most successful works. In 1546 he moved to Mantua, where he published the long novel La Philena (1547). In 1548, after a short stay in Basel, he entered the services of Giovanni Cantelmo, military commander and litterateur, who traveled extensively across the peninsula before settling in Cosenza. Discharged in 1555, Franco tried his luck in Rome, where, however, reigned an atmosphere of distrust against him because of his anticlerical invective in his Priapea(1541). Arrested for the first time in 1558 and imprisoned for 8 months, Franco lived from 1560 to 1568 in Rome enjoying a relative calm thanks to the protection of Cardinal
Giovanni Morone. In the years of the pontificate of Pius IV, he wrote a violent pamphlet against the Carafa family, which after the election of the more intransigent Pius V caused him a second arrest in September 1568. The trial ended in February 1570 with a death sentence. Franco was hanged on the bridge of Castel Sant’Angelo on March 11. The death penalty looked disproportionate even to his contemporaries and all his works were put on the Index (cf. C. Simiani, La vita e le opera di Niccolò Franco, Torino, 1894, passim; R.L. Bruni, Polemiche cinquecentesche. Franco, Aretino, Domenichi in: “Italian Studies” , XXXII, 1977, pp. 52 -67, and A. Matarazzo, La penna e la forca. Vita e morte di Niccolò Franco , in: “Rivista Storica del Sannio”, s.3, I/1, 1994, pp. 31-73).Edit 16, CNCE 19821; Universal STC, no. 830886; Kelso, p.359, no. 302; F. Pignatti, Bibliografia di Niccolò Franco , (Bologna, 2014), p. 3. MY THANKS TO AXEL ERDMAN FOR THIS WRITE-UP.