Aretino, Pietro. Quattro comedie [...] Cio' è Il Marescaléo, La Cortegiana, La Talanta, l'Hipocrito. Novellamente ritornate, per mezzo della stampa, a luce, a richiesta de conoscitori del lor valore.

[London, John Wolfe], 1588.

Small 8vo. 4 parts in one volume. VIII, 285, (3) ff. With medallion portrait (legend: "D. Petrus Aretinus Flagellum Principum") on title (repeated three times). 19th c. calf (slightly worn).


Pirated edition of Aretino's "comedie" (the first appeared 1553 in Venice) printed by one of the most rebellious and outspoken of all the Elizabethan printers. Wolfe's production was in all probability chiefly destined for the European continent, as all of Aretino's works had been on the Roman Index since 1558; copies were offered for sale at the Frankfurt Book Fair of 1589. Aretino's comedies are considered the best of his works. They rank among the great works of Renaissance drama, and many of their leading characters were prototypes for later playwrights. ‘La Talanta’, for example, prepared the way for Shakespeare’s character Falstaff. "[U]n frontespizo particolare ad ogni comedia [...] ha al fine una Lettera dell'Aretino a Daniele Barbaro" (Gamba).

One gathering misbound, but a nice complete copy.

Edit 16, CNCE 2486. Index Aureliensis 107.120. BM-STC Italian 517. Adams A 1562. Gamba 1204 note. Brunet I, 408. Pforzheimer 800. Woodfield, Surreptious Printing in England 43.