The Works of Aretino, Pietro Aretino, illust. Franz von Bayros, biographical essay and translation unknown [likely Samuel Putnam] (Rarity Press, New York, 1931 )
9.5″ X 6.5″, 280pp, Hardcover with DJ, red cloth boards, botton and fore edges deckled. Good condition for age, a few tears to DJ.
Pietro Aretino (1492-1556) was one of the most important figures in Italian Renaissance literature, and certainly the most controversial. Condemned by some as a pornographer, his infamy was due largely to his use of explicit sexuality and the vulgar tongue of ordinary speech in much of his work. Dialogues centres around a conversation between two rather frank, experienced, and sharp-tongued women on the topic of women’s occupations. We learn that at the time there were only three: wife, whore, or nun. Their discussion is a rollicking account of the advantages, perils, and pleasures each profession offers. Not only was Dialogues the first erotic book in the Christian world to be written in the common vernacular, it was but one of the few to describe the obscenity of commercial love, and is thus a cornerstone of both Italian literature and Counter-Renaissance vigour. This edition contains famous erotic illustrations by Franz von Bayros.