Il Pecorone di Ser Giovanni Fiorentino.

FIORENTINO Giovanni (1565)


Please contact us in advance if you would like to view this book at our Curzon Street shop.

Woodcut printers device on title page, historiated woodcut initials. Italic type. 

8vo (155 x 100mm). 227, [1]ff (blank). Modern vellum, with remains of earlier spine label with title lettered in gilt, blue marbled edges.

Venice, Appresso Domenico Farri, 

Rare third edition of this series of novelle from Ser Giovanni Fiorentino. Lines of verse prefacing the start of the tale explain that the work was started, written, and completed in 1378; the first edition was published in 1558 in Milan (the apparent first edition dated 1554 is in fact a counterfeit, printed in Lucca in 1740), based on three surviving manuscripts. 

This work is one of many produced in the fourteenth century to closely imitate the framework narrative structure of Boccaccio's Decameron, with an overarching story that ties fifty shorter novelle together. The work was popular, and had a marked influence on subsequent writing. The first story on the fourth day, for example, describes a Jewish money lender demanding a pound of flesh from his Christian debtor, thought to be the basis of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. 

'Fiorentino' was the epithet given to the author in the editio princeps of 1558, and Ser Giovanni has proved an elusive and mysterious figure. The title 'Ser' would suggest that he was a notary, or of a profession of a similar level. Others have speculated that he was the head of an order of Franciscan monks, also called Giovanni; a Florentine gonfaloniere, Giovanni Cambi; a judge; a Florentine jester, active in Naples; and some have posited that the title of this work, Pecorone (meaning 'big sheep' or 'simpleton') was in fact his surname, Giovanni Pecorone. 

Age-yellowing, leaves of quire R extended at fore-edge and lower margin by 2-4mm suggesting it has been inserted from another volume.

BMSTC (Italian), 302. Gamba, 525. Brunet II, 1605. (Not in Adams). CNCE 37952.

[OCLC: US: Folger, Illinois, Princeton, Harvard. UK: BL only.]


Stock Code: 228113

close zoom-in zoom-out close zoom