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The Only Incunabular Printing of a Work Examining Sexual Attraction, Marriage, and Related Issues like Fashion and Grooming


(Treviso: Gerardus de Lisa, de Flandria, 13 Oct. 1492). 215 x 150 mm. (7 7/8 x 5 7/8"). Textually Complete. 6 p.l., 97 leaves (without final blank). Single column, 25 lines, roman type. FIRST EDITION.

New unlettered limp vellum in the style of the period. Front pastedown with bookplate of José Lorenzo Cossío. With numerous marginal annotations in two different early hands. Goff H-2; BMC VI, 885; ISTC ih00002000; V. Schulderer, "A Fleming in Venice," in "Fifty Essays", pp. 113-126. Intermittent dampstains to edges, intruding into tail margin of first quire (but well away from text), occasional minor foxing, thumbing, or small stains to margins, but an excellent copy internally, generally clean, fresh, and rather bright with generous margins, and in a perfectly suitable retrospective binding.

Written as advice for the author's nephew, a college student, this philosophical treatise on the types of love is particularly concerned with the dangers of erotic passion. It takes the form of a lively discussion between the author, who is a priest, and two members of his intellectual circle, one a poet who makes the case for the beauties and pleasures of love, and the other a priest who warns against the consequences of indulging in carnality. The "conversation" encompasses representations in art of love, sexual attraction and desire, the state of marriage and the relations between the sexes, and forays into peripheral concerns like fashion and personal grooming. Our copy offers the intriguing opportunity to examine the reactions of at least two contemporary readers whose comments appear in the margins. Little is known of Haedus (1427-1504), other than that he was born Pietro Cavretto, served as a priest, and wrote an earlier book ("Amores") in reaction to being rejected by his beloved; it is not surprising that one disappointed in romance would compose a work entitled "against the erotic." The author was friends with the printer here, Gerardus de Lisa, who had immigrated to Italy from Flanders. V. Schulderer, who made a study of Gerardus, notes that his roman type is "a quite original face, with its wealth of curves and serifs, and its greatly prolonged ascenders and descenders, which gives his volumes a flavor of fine printing, admirably consonant to their small bulk and format." The Lisa printing is the only one done in the 15th century and is not commonly encountered.

Price: $12,500.00

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