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Publisher Description

From their initial appearance in April 1501, it is clear that Aldus's italic-letter, octavo editions were an immediate success among the educated, the amateurs of bonae literae. In spite of the existence of various privileges obtained from the Venetian Republic and from the papacy in Rome covering both the editions and their new cancellaresca-style type, at least three printing houses had italic type and were printing the very same, or the same sort of octavo editions of classical texts without commentary by the end of 1503. (1) Given the financial outlay that such counterfeiting must have involved, it is not surprising that several of the instigators were, in fact, from important publishing houses, to wit, the Giunti in Florence and Venice, and the de Gabiano in Lyons (but with family connections in Venice.) (2) For Aldus (and his major financial partner, Torresani), it must have been particularly disturbing to discover that the Lyonese were copying his new italic editions line by line, including the prefaces and dedicatory epistles bearing his name. He even took his case to the educated public. Two years after printing his first italic-letter edition, in March 1503, he printed `ex Neacademia nostra' a broadside, the `Monitum,' or Warning, denouncing the Lyonese counterfeit editions and indicating how to distinguish them from the real thing. (3) As he noted, the Lyonese editions were undated and unsigned, nor did they show the Aldine dolphin and anchor device, which he displayed prominently in the lower right-hand corner of the broadside. In addition, their texts were full of errors, the type lacked ligatures (4) and had a certain Gallicness (i.e. heaviness) about it, and the paper smelled. Aldus gave a list of their editions and cited easily verifiable inaccuracies in each case.

Professional & Technical
April 1
Bibliographical Society of Canada
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