Elogio del Capitano Giacomo Cook … Elogy of Captain James Cook composed and publickly recited before the Royal Academy of Florence. COOK: EULOGY, Michelangiolo GIANETTI.
Elogio del Capitano Giacomo Cook … Elogy of Captain James Cook composed and publickly recited before the Royal Academy of Florence.

Elogio del Capitano Giacomo Cook…
Elogio del Capitano Giacomo Cook … Elogy of Captain James Cook composed and publickly recited before the Royal Academy of Florence.

Florence: Printed for Gaetano Cambiagi, Printer of his Royal Highness, 1785.

Quarto, with titles in Italian and English facing, each with engraved vignette of the Royal Society Cook Medal, unpressed and unopened, a tall and handsome copy in black polished calf antique.

This prodigy of nature

Rare, eccentric, but beautiful eulogy of Cook. This prose essay honouring the life and voyages of the navigator in florid style would have greatly embarrassed him. Describing his achievements in purple tones, 'this prodigy of nature' is lauded for his mapping of the St Lawrence, to which the author ascribes much of General Wolfe's successes. Each of the three voyages of discovery is described in some detail, while Cook, like many sailors a non-swimmer, is given powers that he never possessed: 'From his infancy he was accustomed to the useful practice of swimming, and could cleave the waves of the Ocean with the facility of its inhabitants'.

Rare, eccentric, but beautiful eulogy of Cook. This prose essay honouring the life and voyages of the navigator in florid style would have greatly embarrassed him. Describing his achievements in purple tones, 'this prodigy of nature' is lauded for his mapping of the St Lawrence, to which the author ascribes much of General Wolfe's successes. Each of the three voyages of discovery is described in some detail, while Cook, like many sailors a non-swimmer, is given powers that he never possessed: 'From his infancy he was accustomed to the useful practice of swimming, and could cleave the waves of the Ocean with the facility of its inhabitants'.
Although the poem exhibits a particular interest in the exotic islands of Tahiti and Hawaii, as well as the sometimes violent interactions in New Zealand, the work does include a particularly attractive passage on Cook's grounding on a reef and subsequent beaching at Endeavour River.
Gianetti was professor of anatomy at the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova, and well-known as a dilettante poet and friend of English poets such as Hester Lynch Piozzi. The English translation is signed R.M., that is, the English poet Robert Merry, who wrote under the pseudonym Della Crusca, and was the great English literary figure in Tuscany at this time. This work could be compared with Merry's own Ode on Rodney's defeat of De Grasse in the West Indies (1782), which appeared accompanied by a French translation by Sir Wogan Browne and an Italian translation by Gianetti himself (Brian Moloney, 'The Della Cruscan Poets', MLR, January 1965, p. 50).
This is a beautifully printed book in the best Italian eighteenth-century tradition, much in the style of Bodoni, using elegant roman and italic types, classically composed within ruled borders. The dedication is to Sir Horace Mann, then English ambassador to the Court of Tuscany.

Provenance: Private collection (Japan).

Beddie, 1957; Holmes, 51; Kroepelien, 486; not in the catalogue of the Hill collection; O'Reilly-Reitman, 451.

Price (AUD): $8,600.00  other currencies     Ref: #3712611

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