First Edition. Although the title of this collection indicates funeral orations for animals by "various authors," all eleven pieces are by Ortensio Lando (1505?-1555?), the eccentric, peripatetic, uncomfortable humanist who seemed to gravitate toward the far edge of every society he entered. While many humanists traveled, Lando traveled more. A native of Milan, he can be found at various times in Rome, Venice, Naples, Lyon (where he worked for Sebastian Gryphius and alongside Etienne Dolet), Basel, Geneva, Lucca, Trento, Paris, Strasbourg, Tubingen and Augsburg, remaining in Venice after 1545 but probably in Naples when he died, sometime in the later 1550s. He changed his name more than once, and he preferred to publish pseudonymously, cryptically, or anonymously, creating a burden for his biographers. (Ironically for such an unquiet soul, he often referred to himself in print as il Tranquillo.) He stopped short of the priesthood, flirted seriously with reformers, wrote several protestant-leaning works, yet he was present at the opening of the Council of Trent. He translated More's Utopia into Italian, and wrote a fantastical funeral oration on Erasmus, both praising and condemning him, that still puzzles Erasmus scholars. Starting with I Paradossi (Lyon, 1534), he published a series of learned dialogues, travelogues, and arguments, all of them characterized by an odd sense of humor, and all of them landing on the local indices in Milan and Venice, and on Pope Paul IV's first Index librorum prohibitorum in Rome. The volume offered here is a collection of supposed "funeral orations" informed by examples from Lucian, and from Lando's contemporary, Cornelius Agrippa. Indeed, the text confirms how brightly Lucian's peculiar star shone among thinking humanists. Each eulogy (for a cat, a flea, a cricket, an ass) is attributed to a fictional speaker (Brother Onion, Sister Flower, etc.). Lando only appears under his own name in a postscript, an apology where he admits that the "orations" are meant in fun but that they are erudite and have serious matter to them as well, intending to "reveal secrets of nature." While the Index suppressed Lando's diffusion in Italy, he was very popular in the rest of Europe. The Sermoni were translated into French and Latin, and were reprinted into the eighteenth century. A bibliographical oddity: this first edition exists in two variants, with no priority established, and neither more frequent. In one variant, the dedication epistle is addressed to Johann Jakob Fugger of Augsburg; in the copy offered here, the volume is dedicated with a slightly different text to Niccoló degli Alberti, Count of Bormo. Both variants of the first edition are extremely difficult to obtain, and are held in very few collections worldwide, none located in North America (according to OCLC). No auction records in RBH.
Venice: Gabriel Giolito de Ferrari, 1548.
Octavo, 160 mm. A-D8, E4; 36 ff. Giolito phoenix device and fleuron on title page, and smaller phoenix device on verso of last leaf. Woodcut historiated initials. Late 19th-century marbled paper over boards. Occasional minor blemishes and traces of skilled conservation contemporary with binding.
Rodger Friedman Rare Book Studio (current owner); ownership inscription of Nicholas Gottfried Kraenner to front blank.
Bongi, I, 231 f.; Adams L-122; BM Italian, 623; Melfi, III, 58.
Status: On Hold