London: printed by Isaac Jaggard, 1620, 1620. First English language edition. One of the classic early works of world literature and a source that Shakespeare drew from. This first translation into English is generally attributed to John Florio. Expertly bound to style in high grain, dark brown morocco with raised bands, gilt borders and central panels. All edges gilt. Title page to the first part mounted, corners of the second leaf (part 1) and the final leaf (part 2) restored. Blank top margin of leaves L(2), L(3), Z(4), aa(1-3) in the second part also restored. Minor soiling to a number of leaves, but mostly in the preliminaries. Penciled notations on the front paste-down and end-paper. Collated complete, with the exception of the two blank leaves, one at the end of part one and the other at the beginning of part two. With all numbering inconsistencies as noted in Pforzheimer, 71. A very handsome and desirable edition, printed by same shop that would print Shakespeare's first folio in 1623. While copies of the second edition of part one, bound with the first edition of part two can usually be located, true first printings of both parts are scarce. This copy with a 1713 ownership signature (John Saunders) in the preliminaries of part one and on the title page of part two, showing a copy that has been together for at least 300 years. From the collection of Brent Gration-Maxfield.
Boccaccio’s famed story collection, a classic of renaissance literature – and one of the world’s great books. The stories of the Decameron are told in turn by a group of young Florentines, who have fled the city in order to escape the Plague. (Boccaccio himself had lost relatives during an epidemic of the Black Death in mid 14th century Florence.) The tales of the Decameron were often inspired by – or directly taken from – folk tales both local to Italy and Europe, as well as many that had their origin in the Middle East or even India. The book was quite popular when it was released, especially with northern Italy’s merchant class, and the influence of the Decameron is extremely wide ranging – stretching from Shakespeare and Chaucer, all the way to Edgar Allan Poe. (Item #1730)
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