Item #4553 Catullus et in eum Commentarius M. Antonii Mureti. Gaius Valerius Catullus, Marc Antoine Muret, ca. 84-ca. 54 B. C.
Catullus et in eum Commentarius M. Antonii Mureti.
Catullus et in eum Commentarius M. Antonii Mureti.
Catullus et in eum Commentarius M. Antonii Mureti.
Catullus et in eum Commentarius M. Antonii Mureti.
Catullus et in eum Commentarius M. Antonii Mureti.
Catullus et in eum Commentarius M. Antonii Mureti.
Catullus et in eum Commentarius M. Antonii Mureti.
Catullus et in eum Commentarius M. Antonii Mureti.
Catullus et in eum Commentarius M. Antonii Mureti.

Catullus et in eum Commentarius M. Antonii Mureti.

Venice: Apud Paulum Manutium, Aldi filium, 1554.

Price: $6,000.00

Octavo: 16.2 x 10 cm. [4], 134, [2] lvs. Collation: *4, A-Q8, R10

FIRST EDITION with the commentary of the French scholar and critic Marc Antoine Muret.

A nice, tall, unsophisticated copy of this important book, bound in its original limp vellum binding (mild wear, lacking ties) with the author’s name on the spine. The text is in fine condition with just a little ink staining at the upper and lower edges of the opening leaves and the closing quires (the result of the edges of the text block being dyed inexpertly); light damp-staining to last quire. Occasional contemporary annotations and underscores. Aldine device on the title page and final leaf.

This edition marks the first appearance of the celebrated commentary of the French poet and classicist Marc Antione Muret. “Muret's commentary was the first to be published since that of Guarinus in 1521 and the most important since that of Parthenius in 1485.”(Gaiser) Muret was the first commentator to pair Sappho’s poem “Phainetai moi kênos îsos theoisin”(Sappho 31) with Catullus 51, “Ille mi par esse deo videtur”.

"In 1552 Muret lectured on Catullus and other Latin poets in Paris, perhaps at the College du Cardinal Lemoine or the College de Boncourt. Included in his large and enthusiastic audiences were several poets of the Pléiade -most notably Ronsard, his friend and near contemporary. Muret's lectures created a fashion for Catullan poetry. His own neo-Latin collection, Juvenilia (1552), contains several Catullan imitations, but Catullus is still more important in the poetry of the Pléiade, much of which appeared close on the heels of his lectures.”(Gaiser)

Late in 1553 Muret was forced to leave Paris, where he was persecuted for being a homosexual. Earlier in the year he had been accused of “unnatural vice” and imprisoned at the fortress of Châtelet and would have died of starvation had his friends not intervened to secure his release. Disgraced at Paris and reduced to poverty, he fled to Toulouse, where he eked out a living by giving lessons in law. He was accused a second time of having committed sodomy, in this instance with a young man named L. Memmius Frémiot, and on the advice of a councilor he absconded once more. He was sentenced to death in absentia and burned in effigy with Frémiot in the Place Saint-Georges as a Huguenot and sodomite. He crossed the Alps in disguise and was warmly received for a time in Venice, while in France his memory was ceaselessly vilified.” (Warren Johansson)

Soon after arriving in Venice, in May 1554, Muret was befriended by Paul Manutius, who, learning of his enthusiasm for Catullus, persuaded him to produce a commentary. Muret went to work and completed the task in a little less than three months, as he says in the dedication, dated October 15, 1554.

"Since Muret had been in Venice only a few months, his commentary on Catullus was no doubt largely drawn from the Paris lectures. His notes display a combination of learning and poetic sophistication that would have appealed to the Pléiade. More than any of his predecessors except Valerianus, he discusses the artistic qualities of Catullus' work and the details of vocabulary and meter that work together to secure an effect... He appends a poem of his own in galliambics to his discussion of the meter in Cat. 63, discusses the appropriateness of the similes in Cat. 68 (which he regards as perhaps the most beautiful elegy in Latin) and discourses on the delight of studying Catullus' ‘translations’ in close conjunctions with their Greek models. He is the first commentator to print Sappho's poem with Cat. 51 (see folio 57), and he laments the loss of Callimachus' ‘lock of Berenice’ in the discussion of Cat. 66 and prints all the fragments of that poem known to him.

“Muret is interested in the text, but he is cautious about emendations and adamant in refusing to admit modern conjectures and supplements, no matter how apposite. Muret's commentary was the first to be published since that of Guarinus in 1521 and the most important since that of Parthenius in 1485." (Gaisser, "Catullus", CTC Vol. VII, pp. 260-261)

“Previous writers, Parthenius, Palladius, Avancius, Guarinus, had concerned themselves only with the elucidation of textual and grammatical difficulties. Muret pays far more attention to the literary and aesthetic side of Catullus' poems than any other commentator of the period. It is clear that he is professionally interested, as a poet himself and the teacher of poets, in Catullus' mastery of his art. He makes quite a number of literary and aesthetic judgements and these, sporadic and unsystematic though they are, form precious evidence of the sixteenth century attitude to Catullus…

“On Catullus LI, the translation of Sappho's ode, Muret remarks: ‘What man is there, at least amongst those who have some feeling for literature and culture, who does not derive the keenest pleasure in comparing the lines of that woman who far surpasses all men in this genre, and those of the most voluptuous of all the Latin poets?’ (“poetae Latinorum omnium mollissimi.") Similarly on Catullus’ Coma Berenices (LXVI) he bewails the loss of Callimachus' elegy on the same theme, which deprives posterity of the pleasure of comparing the great Greek poet with Catullus ‘Latinorum poetarum sine controversia politissmus’.” (Fitzgerald, Catullus and the Reader, the Erotics of Poetry).

Renouard 162/19; Adams C-1145; Schweiger (Latin) Vol. I, p. 84

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