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L'America poema eroico.

Rome: nella stamperia di L. Grignani, 1650 Stock Code: 123372
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Amerigo Vespucci's discoveries in heroic verse

First edition of this "magnificent" (Gamba) celebration of the discovery of America, an allegorical epic in ottava rima, forty cantos each of a hundred stanzas, "a sort of Pilgrim's Progress in verse" (Rich).

The work celebrates the heroic wanderings and adventures of Amerigo Vespucci, in avowed imitation of Homer's Odyssey. In his introduction the Florentine author explains that the Odyssey is the more "complex", according to Aristotle's definition, of the two Homeric archetypes. Significantly, in his own reports Vespucci had cited the wanderings of Ulysses as described by his fellow Florentine Dante as a key inspiration for his voyages of discovery. "As expansion into the New World escalated, the irony was not lost on Italians that while Italy had no national presence in the New World, it was an Italian i.e. Dante who had inspired those journeys and Italians such as Columbus, Vespucci, Caboto, and Verrazzano who had assumed the roles of captains and navigators in the return to paradise" (Mary Watt, "Dante and the New World", in The New World in Early Modern Italy, eds. Elizabeth Horodowich & Lia Markey).

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Folio (304 x 214 mm). Contemporary vellum, flat spine lettered in ink and with double gilt fillets, sides with double gilt fillet frame with corner- and centrepieces, gilt edges.


Allegorical engraved frontispiece by Johann Frederich Greuter depicting Vespucci reaching the Americas, engraved portrait of the author, section headings within elaborate typographical border, woodcut initials and tailpieces, text in two columns.


Early printed bookplate (Federighi) to front pastedown. Vellum a little stained, light marginal waterstaining in places, a few quires lightly foxed or browned due to paper stock, still a very good copy.


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