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A commentary on and epitome of Laurentius Valla's De Elegantiis

BIENATO, Aurelio.
In elegantiarum sex libros Laurentii Vallae disertissimi epithomata nuper recognita.
Venice, Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio, for Melchiorre Sessa, 1539. Small 8vo. With Sessas charming woodcut device showing a cat with a mouse in its mouth, with motto "Dissimilium infida societas" below, repeated on the last page. Later half vellum, gold-tooled spine, boards covered with decorated paper. 63, [1] ll.
€ 6,500
Rare Venetian post-incunable edition of a pedagogical humanist treatise by Aurelio Bienato (ca. 1450-1496), dedicated to an adolescent nobleman, Sebastiano de Agustinis. Born in Milan, Bienato studied at the University of Naples and was appointed bishop of Martirano (Catanzaro) in 1485.
Bienato provides a commentary on and shortened version of the famous and influential De elegantia Latinae linguae libri sex by the humanist Lorenzo Valla (1407-57), a highly original work in which Valla subjected the forms of Latin grammar and the rules of Latin style and rhetoric to a critical examination, and placed the practice of composition on a foundation of analysis and inductive reasoning. It formed a foundation for the Humanists movement to reform Latin prose style, moving it in a more classical and Ciceronian direction on a scientific basis. Valla's work was controversial when it appeared, but its arguments carried the day. As a result, humanistic Latin sought to purge itself of post-classical Latin words and features, and became stylistically very different from the Christian Latin of the European Middle Ages. The book collates: A-H8 = 64 ll. Bienato had published his book at Naples, where three editions appeared before his death: ca. 1478/80, 1488 and 1491. The fourth edition appeared at Venice in 1521 and probably served as the model for Sessa, who printed and published a 1531 edition there, followed by the present edition jointly published with Nicolini da Sabbio.
In very good condition. EDIT 16, CNCE 6056 (4 copies); USTC 814497 (same 4 copies); for the author: DBI 10, pp. 369-370; cf. GW IV, 4343-4345 (ca. 1478/80-1491 eds.); ISTC (same eds.); WorldCat (1531 ed.); not in Adams; BMC STC Ital.; cf. Dict. histoire et de geographie ecclésiastiques VIII, 1439.
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