37. Jacopo Sannazaro. Arcadia (1534)

8° ; 91, [1] leaves; 150 x 94mm.

Jacopo Sannazaro (1457/8-1530) was a poet whose work both in Latin and Italian was extremely fashionable in its own time. The court poet of King Ferdinand I of Naples, Sannazaro was a member and then leader of Pontano's humanist academy from the 1480s on.

As with Pontano, Aldus Manutius had approached Sannazaro with a request to publish his work. The request was probably spurred by the commercial success of a pirated edition of Sannazaro's Arcadia published at Venice in 1502. The text of that edition was notoriously incorrect; yet it enjoyed an immediate and enduring popularity. Sannazaro apparently did not respond to Aldus's request. Instead, he provided his manuscript to Pietro Summonte of Naples, who published a revised and corrected version in 1504. The Aldine edition of 1514, reprinted in 1534, was merely a reissue and simplification of Summonte's text.

Arcadia, the best-known of Sannazaro's Italian works, tells the story, in prose and verse, of the frustrated love of one Sincero for a certain Phyllis. The first nondramatic Renaissance pastoral, its descendants include Jorge de Montemayor's Diana and Sir Philip Sidney's two versions of Arcadia. Though alien to modern tastes, it appeared in a new edition virtually every other year throughout the sixteenth century.

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