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2002 articles 1983 articles

A mysterious Italian newsletter of 1517

D. E. Rhodes


MYSTERIOUS' seems to be the most appropriate word to describe a newsletter, printed on only two leaves in quarto, and purchased by the Department of Printed Books of the British Library in August 1981, since it has taken a year of continuous research and puzzled contemplation to reach a conclusion as to the place where it was printed and the identity of the printer. The result, which fortunately is quite decisive, comes as a great surprise, since it shows that such newsletters, describing as they do local events, were not necessarily printed anywhere near where they were written. We cannot know where they were sent in manuscript; in the present case it turns out that the piece was printed some hundreds of miles away from its place of composition, and we shall never know why this particular printer chanced upon the text and decided to print it so far away from the city named in its title, which is Copia delle stupende i horri= || bile cose che ne boschi di Bergamo sono || a questi giorni apparse. The letter ends on 2v: 'Data in Castello de Villa chia || ra adi. xxiii. di Dicebre. || M.ccccc.xvii.'

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