PFINTZING, Melchior (1481-1535). Die geuerlicheiten und einsteils der geschichten des loblichen streytparen und hochberumbten helds und Ritters herr Tewrdannckhs. Nuremberg: Hans Schonsperger the Elder, . 2. (380 x 265mm). 290 leaves. 24 lines. Gothic (fraktur) type, abundantly flourished, xylographic title. 118 large numbered woodcuts by Jost de Negker and Heinrich Kupferworm after Leonhard Beck, Hans Burgkmair, Hans Schaufelein, and possibly three others. Printed correction slip on A6r. With the blank P5. (Small wormholes, heavier in last quire, occasional light spot or staining.) 20th-century calf re-using contemporary wooden boards and blind-tooled calf sides, sides differently tooled, two fore-edge clasps. Provenance: contemporary inscription and later ink stamp washed from title. FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE FINEST ILLUSTRATED BOOKS OF THE GERMAN RENAISSANCE. This allegorical poem celebrates the exploits and heroic deeds of Emperor Maximilian, represented as Theuerdank, as he overcomes the difficulties on his journey to win his bride, Mary of Burgundy, Konigin Ernreich in the poem. It forms part of a trilogy, along with Weisskunig and Fredsal, elaborating Maximilian's life, but Theuerdank was the only one to be published during the emperor's lifetime. Maximilian was closely involved in all aspects of the work. Finishing the first drafts in 1505-1508, he entrusted his private secretary Melchior Pfintzing with the completion and editing of the text. Maximilian asked Hans Schonsperger from Augsburg to come to Nuremberg to print the work; Theuerdank is the only work printed by Schonsperger that has a Nuremberg imprint. Part of its paper stock was made specifically for the edition and bears a watermark of the double eagle with the arms of Austria and Burgundy. The series of 118 woodcuts, among the finest in early German book illustration, were designed by some of the greatest and best-known artists of the day, Hans Schaufelein, Leonhard Beck and Hans Burgkmair. The cuts were still used in later editions, as late as 1693 for an edition printed at Ulm. Additionally, a calligraphic type, attributed to Vincenz Rockner, Maximilian's court secretary, was specially cast to print the work. This fraktur, embellished with ornamental flourishes, was the model for many subsequent designs. 'This edition is to be considered as a privately printed book, not intended for sale. It seems that no copies passed out of the possession of Maximilian until some time after his death' (Murray). THE TALLEST COPY TO BE OFFERED AT AUCTION IN OVER 30 YEARS. Adams P-962; Brunet V: 787; Davies, Murray German 329.