1854 Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso (16th century). Armorial binding?


A richly illustrated, and finely bound example of Tasso's 16th century classic, Jerusalem Delivered. This edition in English, translated by J.H. Wiffen, with a life of the author, and twenty-four engravings on wood by Thurston (and eight additional engravings on steel).

The binding here is a wonder. When I bought the book I was sure to find a prize award inside, but none exists. Similarly, no house uses "Sicillum Crokorniense" as their motto. It does seem to be an armorial of a house/castle, but it may intone "crooked house", or "house of crooks"?

About the Work -

"The Gerusalemme Liberata or Jerusalem Delivered occupies a larger space in the history of European literature. Yet the commanding qualities of this epic poem, those which revealed Tasso's individuality, and which made it immediately pass into the rank of classics, beloved by the people no less than by persons of culture, are akin to the lyrical graces of Aminta."

"In the Gerusalemme Liberata, as in the Rinaldo, Tasso aimed at ennobling the Italian epic style by preserving strict unity of plot and heightening poetic diction. He chose Virgil for his model, took the first crusade for subject, infused the fervor of religion into his conception of the hero, Godfrey. But his natural bent was for romance. As he had done in Rinaldo, Tasso adorned Gerusalemme Liberata with a number of romantic episodes, which have proved more popular and influential than the grand sweep of the main theme. Thus, while the nominal hero of Gerusalemme Liberata is Godfrey of Bouillon ("Goffredo"), the leader of the First Crusade and the climax of the epic is the capture of the holy city. But Tasso's Goffredo, who is a mixture of Virgil's pious Aeneas and Tridentine Catholicism, is not the real hero of the epic. Instead, the reader is attracted to the stories of Ruggiero, fiery and passionate Rinaldo, melancholy and impulsive Tancredi, and also by the chivalrous Saracens with whom they clash in love and war."

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 17.5 x 11 x 3.5 cm. Moroccan leather, with five raised cords to spine. Spine compartments richly gilt, and "Wiffen's Tasso" in gilt on black Moroccan overlay. All edges are gilt (AEG). Cover framed in gilt rule, with central armorial of castle with moat and portcullis.

Condition -

See pictures. Binding darkened at edges, looks like some sort of repair; binding functions (opens/closes) very well and looks great. Bottom corner of rear board has rubbing marks (also darkened with repair). Some pencil bookseller marks on endpapers. No tissue over plates. Rear blank endpaper dog-eared at bottom corner. A handsome binding, and a great looking book.

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