Fiorenza [Florence]: Nella stamperia de' Giunti, 1574. First edition. Hardcover. Duodecimo. 5 1/2 x 4". 76pp. . Rebound in modern vellum boards. Decorative woodcut illustrated title page. Written by an anonymous author, this obscure and intriguing Italian Renaissance comedy in five acts, tells the story of Alonso, a Jew (a "marrano" or converso) originally of Barcelona.
The protagonist emigrates to Italy after having to flee his native Spain during the Inquisition, and subsequently changes his name to Rodrigo to avoid persecution. The story recounts that after having to flee Barcelona after his house is burned down, Alsonso and one of his sons escapes to the Spanish Island of Mallorca, where he continues to be persecuted by the Inquisition*. After numerous stops along the way he eventually settles in Florence. The main plot of the play concerns the set of circumstances under which the protagonist and other members of his family are ultimately reunited, after all making their way to Florence, unbeknownst to one another. This work, although subjective, serves as one of a small number of sources that can be used to gain insight into the cultural perception and material realities of converso Jews in Italy during the 16th century. This period saw a significant influx of immigration of conversos to regions of Italy such as Piedmont, Venice and the Papal States, contributing significantly to local economies, and as a result started to, on occasion, gain some measure of social acceptance.
Text finely printed throughout with numerous decorative woodcut head and tailpieces as well historiated and decorative initials. The verso of the final unpaginated leaf contains an additional woodcut vignette (printer's device). Includes an introduction by publisher Iacopo Guinti at the front.
Text throughout in Italian, with the title partially in Latin.
Interior with a few sporadic instances of minor foxing or staining to pages. Title page with a very small period ex-libris ink stamp at the top of the title page. Period notes and ex-libris from a previous owner n ink at the top and bottom of verso of the final leaf. Modern bibliographic notes in pencil from a previous owner on the rear free endpaper. Binding in near fine, interior in very good+ condition overall. Item #48398
Bibliographic References: Camerini, L.S. I Giunti tipografici editori di Firenze; no. 41; Clubb, L.G. Italian plays (1500-1700) in the Folger Library; no. 9; Adams, H.M. Catalogue of books printed on the continent of Europe, 1501-1600, in Cambridge libraries,; S-1213; Short-title catalogue of books printed in Italy and of Italian books printed in other countries from 1465 to 1600 now in the British Museum; p. 469; EDIT 16; CNCE 12864
*For more information on the persecution of marranos in Majora during the Inquisition see "The Chuetas of Majorca", by Baruch Braunstein (1936).
This work was printed by the Guinti printing house. During the sixteenth century they were among the leading publishers in Florence, and a prominent presence in European publishing in general.