La nobilta delle donne
Vinetia: Appresso Gabriel Giolito de Ferrarii, 1549. 8vo (15.7 cm, 6.18"). , 272,  ff. First edition. Composed as a dialogue in five books, this treatise in praise of women defends the female sex against charges of inferiority in the first four books and in the fifth takes it on to => name the most admirable women living in 29 Italian towns and France. Participants in the dialogue are the author's illustrious contemporaries, both male and female, including Faustina Sforza and Violante Bentivoglio, very noble women. Lodovico Domenichi (151564) was born into an aristocratic family in Piacenza, and moved to Venice about 1543 to pursue a literary career; he worked as a translator, corrector, and editor for the Giolito press in Venice, and later the Giunti in Florence, and published original works at both presses. La nobilta draws heavily on protofeminist literature, namely H.C. Agrippa von Nettesheim's De nobilitate (Antwerp, 1529); however it is among the first treatises on the => equality of women rulers, and the longest Renaissance dialogue on female virtue in general. The text is printed in italic, with instances of roman for names and speakers (who are identified by their initials only in the dialogues), decorated with elaborate woodcut initials and small ornaments at the beginning of each major section. Two different Giolito devices appear on the title-page and the final leaf. Gamba 1361n; Bongi pp. 327 & 24649; Erdmann 29; Gay, III, 386. Not in Adams (1551 corrected ed. only). On Domenichi, see: Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani online, and D. Poggiali, Memorie per la storia letteraria di Piacenza (1789), pp. 221-93. 19th-century vellum, covers ruled in ink, spine gilt extra with two black spine labels; gilt board edges, gilt page edges, marbled endpapers. Boards darkened and rubbed, headband loose, spine labels chipped with one popped off and laid in. Light foxing and scattered stains; offsetting from marginal ink annotation to leaf opposite; sparse underlining, one such dated Leeds 1890 (f. 112v).
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