De le Lettere di M. Pietro Aretino. Libro primo
Venice, Francesco Marcolini, 1538 (January)
The first printed collection of letters by a living person in the volgare, a major event in the history of the Italian language. It inspired a flood of lettere volgare, both the collected letters of individuals and anthologies, perhaps the most distinctive product of Italian literary life in the mid-Cinquecento. This first edition has been pursued by collectors since the eighteenth century and is widely recognised now as a rare book. Six other copies are known, of which two only (London and Munich) are complete. Our copy lacks eleven leaves, including the title and final leaf, both of which were adorned with a woodcut portrait of Aretino set within an architectural frame.