CRITICISM - SATIRICAL STORY - <i>A Story, Out of Boccalini, To theClick Image to ZoomEnlarge Image


A Story, Out of Boccalini, To the ill-natur'd CRITICKS

London, c. 1740. In very good condition. Minor spotting, small repaired tear at bottom margin (not affecting image), and minor crease near pagination.
An engraved page from George Bickham's famous The Universal Penman. Bickham (1684-1758) was an English writing master and engraver who collected penmanship samples from twenty-five London writing masters, the calligrapher Joseph Champion (1709-1765) being the author of this page. He published these from 1733-1741 and The Universal Penman became one of the most important and popular copy texts used by writing masters to instruct their pupils and popularized the English Round Hand script in the 18th century.

This passage, translated into English, is from Trajano Boccalini's satirical masterpiece I ragguagli di Parnasso. The excerpt concerns an author who produces a list of all the faults of a popular poet and offers it to Apollo. But the god, finding the list useless, rewards the hubristic author with an equally useless gift: a pile of chaff, which the author is instructed to separate from a sack of corn himself.

Italian satirist Trajano Boccalini published I ragguagli di Parnasso in 1612. The book follows Apollo as he dispenses justice for all those who seek his intervention with their grievances. Boccalini wrote the book to criticize some of his eminent contemporaries and was so harshly rejected by them thereafter (despite the work's enormous popularity) that he was forced to flee Rome for Venice and died there barely a year later.
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