Boccaccio's "Crow"

Boccaccio's "Crow"
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Misogyny or Philosophy in Boccaccio's "Crow"?

BOCCACCIO, Giovanni.[1313-1375 ] “Il Corbaccio [The Crow] Di M.Giovanni Boccacci Novellamente Stampato, e con riscontri di testi a penna alla sua vera lezione ridotto.” Florence, 1594, Filippo Giunti.15.5 cm x 10.2 cm. Bound in original limp vellum with replacement ties. Collates thus : [viii] A- G8; H4-I4. Pp [viii],122,[vi]. Some foxing throughout but not heavy. Ownership inscription to the title page with what appears to be

“ Edw.d Gascoigne L25” [Lire 25?] [see below].Collated and complete and in Very Good plus condition in both text block and binding.

Il Corbaccio is a work which has a feminist interest for its exploration of misogynistic attitudes. Opinions vary as to wether the work is a satire (a “trattato” or philosophical treatment), or a true reflection of Boccaccio’s  misogyny.The hero of the tale who is in turmoil because of the unrequited love of a widow,(“ the crow” of the title) calls  upon Death, and then falls asleep. In a dream the deceased husband of the widow appears, who says he has been sent by God to free him from the labyrinth of love (“laberinto d’amore”) which he has stumbled into.The protagonist tells of his love to the wraith, who warns him against women who entrap men with their lust, and elaborates on his own experiences with the widow, highlighting her failings as he perceived them.

The hero, convinced by what he has heard wishes to make amends and he is invited by the spirit to use his skills as a writer to tell about the “ true nature” of women. The author finishes the work by warning the young against female wiles and wickedness.

The ownership inscription “ Edw.d Gascoigne L25” has some intriguing possibilities. It could refer to Sir Edward Gascoigne 6th Baronet who is known to have undertaken a Grand Tour circa 1723-1726. [He married on 26th November 1726 to Mary, daughter and heiress of Sir Francis Hungate, Bart of Huddlestone Hall, by Mary, the only daughter of William Weld Esq., of Lulworth Castle, in the county of Dorset.] It is tempting to speculate that he purchased this copy of Il Corbaccio whilst on tour in Italy, adding his name to the title page and the price that he paid for the work.

£750.00


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