Dolce, Lodovico (1508-1568). Dialogo... Nel quale si ragiona del modo di accrescere et conseruar la memoria... Venice, Giovanni Battista & Melchiorre Sessa, 1562.

Dolce, Lodovico (1508-1568). Dialogo... Nel quale si ragiona del modo di accrescere et conseruar la memoria... Venice, Giovanni Battista & Melchiorre Sessa, 1562.

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Dolce, Lodovico (1508-1568).

Dialogo... Nel quale si ragiona del modo di accrescere et conseruar la memoria....

Venice, Giovanni Battista & Melchiorre Sessa, 1562.

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The crabbed Latin of the German Dominican is transformed into elegant Italian dialogues

— F. A. Yates —

Dolce, Lodovico (1508-1568).

Dialogo... Nel quale si ragiona del modo di accrescere et conseruar la memoria.... Venice, Giovanni Battista & Melchiorre Sessa, 1562.

8° (152x104 mm). Collation: *4, A-P8. [4], 119, [1] leaves. Roman and italic type. The first word of the title 'Dialogo' is set within a woodcut decorated cartouche. Sessa Pegasus device on the title-page. Twenty-three woodcuts varying in size, six of them printed as plates on recto and verso of fols. G5-G7. Contemporary limp vellum. Covers somewhat stained and darkened, small portion of the front lower outer corner lacking. A good and genuine copy, slightly browned, a few small marginal stains.

Provenance: 'Fr.is Antonij Francisci de Betinij liber 1626' (ownership inscription on the front flyleaf).

The first edition of this dialogue on memory, a substantial translation into Italian of the Congestorium artificiosae memoriae by German Dominican Johannes Romberch, which first appeared in Venice in 1520 and was elegantly adapted for the Italian rhetorical tradition by the Venetian 'polygraph' Lodovico Dolce. “The crabbed Latin of the German Dominican is transformed into elegant Italian dialogues, some of his examples are modernised, but the substance of the book is Romberch. We hear in the dulcet tones of Dolce's 'Cicerorian' Italian the scholastic reason why image may be used in memory. And Romberch's diagrams are exactly reproduced; we see once again his cosmic diagram for Dantesque artificial memory, and the antiquated figure of Grammar, stuck over with visual alphabets” (F. A. Yates, The Art of Memory, p. 163).

For the twenty-three illustrations in the volume, the printers Giovanni Battista and the younger Melchiorre Sessa re-used – with the unique exception of the woodcut stamped on fol. H6r, which was replaced – the blocks already cut for the Congestorium printed by Giorgio de' Rusconi in 1520, and which came into the possession of the Sessa press in 1533, when Romberch's treatise was reprinted by the older Melchiorre. The illustrative apparatus of the Dialogo thus also includes the famous visual alphabet formed with instruments and animals first printed by Erhard Rathold in the Publicius of 1482.

Dolce's publishing initiative was an immediate success, and the small treatise was reprinted in Venice in 1575 and 1586.

Adams D-732; Mortimer Italian, 157; Young 91; Wellcome, 1828; L. Dolce, Dialogo del modo di accrescere e conservar la memoria, ed. A. Torre, Pisa, 2001; F. A. Yates, The Art of memory, Eadem, Selected Works. III, London-New-York 2001, pp. 163-164; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 130.

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