Ruan (Rouen): Laurenço Maurry (Laurent Maurry), 1656. First edition. Hardcover. Quarto (9 1/2 x 7 1/2"). , 338pp. 18th-century full calf, with gold lettering and tooling to spine. Raised bands. All paper edges red. Alfonso Cassuto's bookplate on inside of front cover. Contemporary previous owner's inscription in black ink at upper margin of fly leaf: "Da livraria da Marquês do Alegrete" (From the Library of the Marquis of Alegrete). Engraved vignette on title. Decorative initials and tailpieces.
First edition of this epic poem written by Antonio Enriques Gómez and based on the biblical story of Samson.
The book was published in France where the author was living in exile because of his Jewish origin.
"In his prologue to "Samson Nazareno," Gómez clearly insinuates why at this time in his Converso situation he chooses a biblical episode in which Samson represents his own repressed and enchained psyche in the shadow of the Spanish Inquisition and the treachery of his beloved Dalila, i.e., Spain." (See: Moshe Lazar's "Sanson Nazareno," Labyrinthos (2007)).
Each of the 14 books of this first edition is preceded with a splendid full-page copperplate engraving depicting some of the most epic moments in the life of Samson until his final fight against the Philistines. The engravings are not signed.
This copy comes from the personal library of Moshe Lazar, and was used by him to publish his own 2007 version of "Sanson Nazareno, Poema Heroico," containing a lenghty introduction, including notes and an extensive bibliography.**
Binding rubbed along edges, with head and tail of spine chipped. Minor and clear water-staining at lower corner of pages, from page 269 on. Minor worming at lower corner of pages 327 to 338 (not affecting lettering). Text in Spanish. Binding in overall fair, interior in good+ to very good condition. f to vg. Item #42396
*Moshe Lazar (1928-2012), professor emeritus of comparative literature and former chair at USC, devoted his life to his “intellectual rescue mission” - saving Sephardic literature and culture, including rare medieval texts in Judeo-Spanish (Ladino), the spoken and written language developed by Spanish Jews before their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Mario Saltarelli, professor of Spanish and Portuguese at USC Dornsife, called Moshe the perfect sleuth: “He tried to collect as much as he could about Sephardic Jews, their culture and traditions, and publish it so it would be available for future generations,” Saltarelli said. “That was his mission in life.”
** See item #26648 in our catalog.