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BOCCACCIO, Giovanni (1313--1375)
[Decamerone. 1545]
Il decamerone di M. Giovanni Boccaccio, nvovamente corretto, historiato, & con diligenza stampato.
Venetia [appresso di Agostino Bendone], 1545.
453, [11] leaves : [10] woodcut illus. ; 14.8 cm. (8º)

Imprint from colophon. Boccaccio's masterpiece written in the early 1350s is a collection of 100 prose stories told within a framing narrative in which seven women and three men take refuge in the Fiesole countryside to escape the Black Death epidemic in Florence, passing the time by telling tales over the period of the ten days indicated by the title. The plots of the tales, touching on a different theme each day, are drawn from folkloric, French and contemporary sources and were greatly influential on European literature, including Chaucer and Shakespeare who derived plots from Boccaccio. The earliest dated printed edition of the Decamerone is that of Christopher Valdarfer in Venice, 1471, the only known complete copy of which was bought by the Duke of Roxburghe in 1812 for £2260, at the time the record sum for a single book. The present edition, the earliest of six editions in Soane's library (four in Italian, two in French), has the title printed within an ornamental woodcut frame and is illustrated by woodcut figures at the beginning of each of the ten days of the narrative, those for days 1, 2 and 8 being identical, and those for the other days illustrating episodes from the tales.

Copy Notes A strip is excised from the head of the title-leaf, possibly removing an earlier inscription, and repaired with later paper. Rear pastedown inscribed in pencil in a C19th hand (not Soane's) 9th Nov 26 6 Books / Barlace. One of six books purchased by Soane on 9 November 1826 from A.W. Barlace for £5 5s. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.6.10).

Binding C16th vellum, spine lettered in ink 'Boccaccio / Il / Decamerone / Venet- / 1545' over traces of earlier spine-titles, blue-stained textblock edges. Without ties. The covers appear trimmed at the fore-edge.

Reference Number 1350


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