The Spanish Speaking World from Libreria de Antano
The Spanish Speaking World.
Libreria de Antano recently issued a catalogue entitled The Spanish Speaking World. Rare Books and Manuscripts. That world, quite naturally, begins with Spain, but then extends to South and Central America, a bit of North America, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. The catalogue occasionally slides outside these boundaries to the Portuguese world, but Spain's Iberian neighbor deserves a good turn. Most of the material relates to Latin America, the once extensive colonial empire of Spain that quickly disintegrated around 1820, but still retains cultural and linguistic ties to the land that once conquered it. Over 500 years have passed and Columbus still throws a long shadow over the land. This catalogue is presented in chronological order, ranging from the 1548 first Spanish edition of Apianus' atlas to a 1967 first edition of a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Here are a few of the items in between.
Here is a work we don't generally think of as one of Spanish America, and yet it most certainly is, even if it was written by a couple of English explorers. Item 98b is a first edition, first issue of the Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, 1826-1836, describing their examination of the Southern Shores of South America... This set contains the three volumes and appendix. There were two voyages, but it was the second one, and specifically the work taking place on the Beagle, that would make this one of the most important scientific voyages ever. The primary author, and captain of the ship, Robert Fitzroy hired on a young naturalist named Charles Darwin to study the natural history of the area. It was during this expedition that Darwin would examine fossils from extinct species, and note similarities and differences between species on the mainland and on various islands. From this Darwin would conclude that species were somehow changing into others, and in time he would reach the conclusion that one species evolved to another through natural selection, though it would take two more decades for him to announce this theory. The third volume of this set, published in 1839, was written by Darwin, and it reveals much of the evidence on which his theory of evolution would in time be formed. Priced at $38,500.
Item 2 is described by Libreria de Antano as “the major work of narrative prose of Spanish literature.” It is a rare first edition of El Conde Lucanor, the 1575 first edition of a work that was written in the 1330s. The author was Don Juan Manuel, and his tales of Count Lucanor consists of numerous short morality play stories. The Count presents various difficult situations before his wise advisor Patronio, who rather than giving an answer, provides a story based on a similar situation. By the time it is finished, the Count is able to see the parallel and knows what needs to be done. The best known section of this work is the first part, with 51 such stories, drawn from various sources, including Aesop, and old Arabic and Hindu tales. This copy is apparently unique as it has a different title page and final leaf from other known copies, though everything else is identical to other first editions, and these pages were printed at the same time as the others. Libreria de Antano speculates that this may have been a preliminary copy, one that was missing these two pages so that replacements were quickly ordered, or someone was pirating the work to avoid taxes. Price on request.
The Spanish Speaking World from Libreria de Antano
The unique title page of the very rare El Conde Lucanor.
Item 26 is a key work on the Spanish settlement of North America, in particular Mexico (which then included today's American Southwest). It is Los 21 libros rituales i monarchia Indiana... by Juan de Torquemada. This is the greatly expanded 1723 second edition (the first, published in 1615, is virtually unobtainable). Torquemada was a missionary who traveled to New Spain as a child. He was ordained in Mexico in 1579. While Torquemada grew up about 50 years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, and so did not have first hand knowledge, he had access to much in the way of documents concerning that time. He also had access to older people, particularly Indians, who could tell him what they knew, and what had been handed down orally by their ancestors. He also studied ancient pictographs and writings. In this way, Torquemada was able to learn about Mexican culture before the arrival of the Spanish. While other manuscripts from this era were published much later, Torquemada's account of early New Spain was the only one available at the time it was first published. Along with his description of Mexico, Torquemada appears to have interviewed the Spanish explorer Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, who attempted to find a southern continent, but found some Pacific islands instead. $19,800.
Item 42 is a small atlas by Tomas Lopez, Atlas Geographico de la America Septentrional y Meridional. This atlas contains 37 maps of the Spanish Americas from 1758. It will be of notable interest to collectors of Americana as significant portions of the United States were still, and would be for many years, under Spanish rule in 1758. Among the maps are ones for California, New Mexico, and Florida. $17,500.
Item 107 is a copy of the first book by Jorge Luis Borges, Fervor de Buenos Aires, published in 1923. It was not a bestseller. Three hundred copies were printed, and Borges had to give most away. This copy has been inscribed by Borges to Uruguayan painter Pedro Figari. $39,000.
Liberia de Antano may be reached at +5411 5272-1618 or firstname.lastname@example.org.