PITTA, Sebastião da Rocha.
Historia da America Portugueza, desde o Anno de Mil e Quinhentos do seu Descobrimento, até o de Mil Setecentos e Vinte e Quatro.
First edition of the first history of Brazil, and by a Brazilian at that, Sebastiao da Rocha Pitta (1660-1738), having been born in Bahia. Borba de Moraes explains that “the first edition is becoming rare, and is much sought after by Brazilians … since it was the first history of Brazil to have been printed, and since it was written by a Brazilian”. In his own history of Brazil Southey was somewhat dismissive describing it as a “meagre and inaccurate work”. Thomas Lindley, writing in his Narrative of a Voyage to Brazil, is less dismissive and certainly more specific in his criticisms, describing Pitta as “an intelligent and well-informed Brazilian”, who compiled his history “from the chronicles of the Jesuits and other authorities, and some valuable local knowledge of his own. This work is extremely copious in the details of the foundation of Brazil as a colony, its successive governors, its churches, its monasteries and convents; but in its natural history, productions, commerce, and, in short, every point of useful information, is brief cramped and deficient” (pp. xii-xiv). Evidently more of an old-style chronicle than a practical, up-to-the-minute guidebook. Lindley also remarking that the Portuguese government “publicly prohibited its being read under the severest penalties, and it is now only met with (carefully secluded) in the cabinets of the curious”. A nice example of this uncommon and important work, carefully restored in an attractive contemporary binding.
Folio (295 203 mm). Contemporary sprinkled sheep, new re morocco label, compartments gilt with scrolled foliate corner-pieces, floral lozenge central tools, edges sprinkled red and blue. Title printed in red and black, woodcut headpieces, this copy bound with the half-title and the integral black before the main body of the text which are most often lacking. A little rubbed, some stripping from the upper board, judicious restoration to the spine at head and tail, and on the joints, light browning, occasional professional paper repairs to the margins, but overall a very good copy that presents well.
Bibliography: Borba de Moraes (1983) II, 678; Sabin 72300.Don't understand our descriptions? Try reading our Glossary