1568 Comingeois V.3

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Written by Matteo Bandello (Italian)

Translated by Francois de Belle-forest Comingeois (French)

Printed chez Gabriel Buon, au clos Bruneau, a l'enseigne S. Claude, Paris, 1568.


Very rare Shakespeare reference work.

An extremely rare edition of Matteo Bandello's collected Italian tragedies, containing XVIII Histoires Tragiques, translated into French by Pierre Boisteau and Francois de Belle Forest Comingeois. Printed chez Gabriel Buon; au clos Bruneau, a l'enseigne S. Claude, Paris, France, 1568;

Contemporary full vellum binding with yapp edges and inked title to spine. The vellum is soiled and darkened, and partially detached at spine with a two inch split to lower rear joint. Title-page with woodcut vignette, and  woodcut headpieces and initials throughout.

Contents include opening dedication to Monsieur Claude D'Averay, and an  Advertissement au Lecteur. Each of the eighteen tragedies is introduced with a summary, and the book closes with an ode and a sonnet. Complete and collated. Though collated, there are several printer's errors in page numbering (for example, page 163 is printed as 136, and page 378 is printed as 380).

Friar Matteo Bandello's stories were first published in 1554. Written in Italian and printed in Lucca, the original work contained 186 various tragedies and tales. In 1559, six of Bandello's short stories were published by Pierre Boisteau in a freely adapted French translation. Later that same year, François de Belleforest Comingeois published French translations of twelve more of Bandello's stories.

In 1560, an edition from Lyon brought these eighteen stories for the first time into a single volume. This collection was reprinted by Vincent Norment and Jeanne Bruneau in Paris in 1563 and 1564, and by Laurens Chancelier in 1564.

The copy for sale here, published by Gabriel Buon in Paris, 1568 is a reprint of these earlier editions. The first two editions are of the most extreme rarity, the edition here being also of similar, though slightly less rarity.

 Bandello's tragedies, and the French translations by Comingeois, have long been considered a reference source for several of Shakespeare's works. The 3rd Volume, includes, Histoire dixhuitieme, possibly the source of, Much Ado About Nothing, a fact first noticed in 1768 by Edward Capell. Other volumes are considered to contain source material for, among others, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, as well as Shakespeare's Hamlet. 

CONDITION: Fair to good condition; text is complete, and internally in good condition; book is still bound in contemporary vellum covers; separation of cover at rear gutter (see photograph), and title page & front gutter also with damages (see photograph); rearmost section, especially the last page, worn with tearing & soiling; pages are age darkened & delicate, with occasional minor stains, soiling, markings and notations; pages of last 190 leaves appear to have been trimmed at some time; ex-ownership signatures on front paste-down.

BOOK MEASUREMENTS: Small octavo, 12 cm X 7.5 cm

TOTAL LENGTH: (xii), 513 paginated leaves