Tasso’s autograph retraced and rediscovered. The poem offered to Polish ambassador Stanisław Reszka from the copy in the British Library

Jacek Partyka

Abstrakt

The goal of this article is to present a new reading of a short dedicatory poem offered by an outstanding poet of the Italian Renaissance, Torquato Tasso, to Stanisław Reszka, the abbot in Jędrzejów, the secretary of Stanisław Hozjusz, and, in this specific case, the ambassador of the Polish king Sigismund III to the Kingdom of Naples.
The poet and the ambassador met in 1594 in Naples, where both were recovering from illnesses. Their meeting took place shortly after the publication of Jerusalem conquered, which was a recomposed version of Jerusalem delivered, published in 1593. The poet wished to present his newly created work to men of letters and in common opinion it would have been difficult to find in Naples anyone more estimable than Reszka in those days.
Torquato Tasso offered to Stanisław Reszka a copy of his new book with a dedication in the form of a short, eight-verse poem of his own creation. Until now, the ottava was known from the transcription contained in Bibliografia critica by S. Ciampi and in the Italian edition of Tasso’s letters, published by C. Guasti. In Polish literary circles the text of the poem was known thanks to the work of Professor Windakiewicz, who at the close of the 19th century published it in Polish translation and some time later the original text of the poem.
The lead to the British Library copy was discovered during the course of research on early printed books owned or written by Stanisław Reszka and preserved in the collection of the Jagiellonian Library. With the generous help of Stephen Parkin, the curator of the Italian collection in the British Library, the original of the autograph was found, and thus it became possible to compare the existing texts with the original. During the comparison it appeared that the transcription given by Ciampi with the help of the Roman bookseller Giovanni Petrucci differs in some places from the British Library original.
The author proposes a new reading of several uncertain places based on his own palaeographic experience as well as on the help of relevant reference works from the epoch.

Słowa kluczowe: Gerusalemme conquistata, ottava, dedication, dedicatory poem on the fly leaf, new reading, Renaissance literature
References

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