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PETRARCA Francesco.L’Africa del Petrarca in ottaua rima insieme col testo latino, fedelissimamente tradotta da m. Fabio Marretti gentilhuomo seneseVenice: appresso Domenico Farri, 1570.

Quarto (203x151 mm), 104 pages, woodcut printer’s device on title-page. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum with traces of ties.

Fabio Marretti is the translator of the venetian edition by Domenico Farri (1570) of the epic poem L’Africa, written by Petrarch in Latin hexameters, here translated in ottava rima (Italian verse form which Giovanni Boccaccio had established as the standard for Italian romance and epic), and placed side by side to the Latin original. Marretti was a humanist and a translator (he had translated Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in 1568), very appreciated by his fellow citizens of Siena who spoke about him in these terms: il decoro della nostra nazione. (Ugurgieri). L’Africa (1343) was dedicated by Petrarch to the King of Sicily, Roberto of Naples, and brought to Petrarch the highest recognition a poet could achieve, the title of Poet Laureate. The hero of the epic poem is Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, who had invaded northern Africa to fight against general Hannibal’s army (the Carthaginians) and to save Italy. The battle ended with the victory of the Second Punic War by Scipio. Although the whole petrarchan poem consisted of nine books, Marretti’s translation covers only the first three. In the introduction that precedes the translation the humanist celebrates the gifts of the noblewoman Eloisia Ridolfi Del Nero, to whom the work is dedicated, and especially her husband’s, Tommaso Del Nero, and his predecessors’. In the first part of the introduction, Marretti praises Petrarch for his linguistic achievements as Marretti believes Petrarch was able to bring back la vera norma universale di poetare thoscanamente a’ posteri, but chiefly in opposition to Dante. In the introduction we read: (Petrarca) corresse tacitamente quei seguaci di Dante, ch’erano disciplinabili, e di qualche giudicio: i quali imitando il lor maestro poetavano duramente, oscuramente e rozzamente, con arte affaticata e scoperta, ponendo in versi le dottrine loro o d’altri secondo l’uso dei philosophi scientifico, e scolastico. This reference to Dante and the intentionally ill-concealed criticism of the Commedia come from the esthetic debate which had Dante’s masterpiece as its main object of criticism in the period when Marretti lived, and which had its centre precisely in Marretti’s hometown, Siena. This historical (and literary) reference gains more interest if one considers that the Commedia likely was one of the works which inspired Petrarch in the writing of his poem.

Brunet IV, 569.

Price: 2 000.00 EUR