58. Aldus Manutius the Younger. Eleganze della lingua toscana e latina (1558)

8° ;[191] leaves; 152 x 99mm.

Eleganze della lingua toscana e latina, a collection of phrases and abstracts in Italian and Latin, marks the beginning of the modern thesaurus. Because Aldus the Younger was not yet nine years of age in 1558, the book was probably made for his instruction and in his company by his father. Paulus was proud of his firstborn and eager to see that his son aspire to greatness as a scholar and printer, as his name might suggest. Paulus no doubt wanted to do all that he could to help establish early on a literary and scholarly reputation for the youngster and thereby return honor and glory to the family name.

In spite of early fame, Aldus the Younger lacked persistence and industry and seems to have brought more embarrassment than honor to the family name. In a series of letters written by Paulus Aldus emerges as a constant source of humiliation to his father on account of his scandalous moral improprieties and financial troubles. Living an extravagant lifestyle, he spent his money on clothes and artistic curiosities rather than on manuscripts or new types, as his grandfather had. His heart was never in the family business, and under his management--or lack of it--the prestige of the Aldine Press rapidly declined. Nevertheless, Aldus the Younger did print several noteworthy works and held various positions and chairs at different universities. When he died at the age of fifty the glory and enterprises of the Aldine Press came to an end.

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