La Circe. Florence, (appresso Lorenzo Torrentino, 1 April)
GELLI Giambattista (1549)
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Fine one-piece architectural woodcut border, portrait of Gelli on verso of title. 8vo (168 x 103mm) 266pp ff (lacking last of 2 final blanks). 18th century vellum over paste-board, red morocco gilt label on spine, decorated endpapers.
Rare first edition of one of Gelli's most influential works, his vernacular dialogue on man's condition, often regarded as his masterpiece. The ten dialogues are based on the Homeric legend of the witch Circe who transformed Ulysses' companions into a variety of animals - ranging from an oyster to an elephant. Ulysses persuades her to change them back into human beings but only the elephant, formerly a philosopher, returns to his former state as he alone recognises man's freedom and dignity. In the work the self-taught Gelli reveals a remarkable range of sources from Homer, Ovid, Plutarch, Pliny and Aristotle to humanists such as Ficino, Pomponazzi and Pico della Mirandola. There were three translations into English from the 16th to 18th centuries (first translated by Henry Iden, 1557) and it may have influenced Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726).The self-taught Florentine poet, thinker, playwright and critic Gelli (1498-1563) trained as a shoemaker, but although of humble birth, he later became a member of the Florentine Academy and was given the title Riformatore della lingua. Censimento Edit 16 CNCE 20569. Gamba 491. BMSTC (Italian), p. 293. Adams G333. Moreni Torrentino 53 "raro".
Stock Code: 47549