CITOLINI, Alessandro.

La tipocosmia.

Venice: Vincenzo Valgrissi, 1561 Stock Code: 141327
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Recreating the world in lexicographical terms

First edition of this ambitious linguistic encyclopedia, an attempt to recreate the world in lexicographical terms, championing the vernacular against Latin. John Florio, the translator of Montaigne and connection of Shakespeare, used Citolini without acknowledgement for the Italian grammar included in Firste Fruites (London 1578), but mentions the present work in his English-Italian dictionary A Worlde of Wordes, (London, 1598).

Born in Serravalle in the Friuli, in 1565 Citolini travelled to Geneva and Strasbourg before settling as an exile in London. He was introduced in London through Sir John Cheke, tutor to Edward VI, who had been in Strasbourg during Queen Mary's reign, and performed official work for William Cecil at conferences in Europe. "Citolini's philological progressivism coupled with his heterodox religious identity rendered him a pariah in Italy, but both the apparent rejection of his linguistic ideas there and their adoption through John Florio's Italian advocacy in England mark a further pregnant state in the interplay between 'heresy' and the ascendancy of vernacular languages" (Wyatt, p. 209).

Citolini felt ill-used in England and, in a letter sent to Queen Elizabeth on 14 August 1573, characterized his reception as "a strongbox full of warm promises, a great chest full of great hopes and a large purse full of nothing". In 1583 Giordano Bruno in his Cena de le Ceneri remembers "a poor M. Alessandro Citolini whose arm had been broken" by a violent London mob.

Bound afterwards in the volume is an Italian conduct book for gentlemen: Gregorio Zúccolo. I discorsi: ne i quali si tratta della nobiltà, honore, amore, fortificationi, et antigaglie: e con opinioni per lo piu da tutti gli altri, che n'han scritto fin quì peraventura diverse (In Venetia: apresso Gio. Bariletto, 1575).

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2 works bound in 1, octavo (152 x 100 mm). Later, perhaps 18th-century limp vellum, gilt gauffered edges.


A little light toning to early leaves, a very nice copy.


Adams C2047; Graesse II 189; Smith, Rara arithmetica 306 ("a synopsis of science, including arithmetic"). Michael Wyatt, The Italian Encounter with Tudor England: A Cultural Politics of Translation, Cambridge University Press, 2005.


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