[Cordova: Por la viuda de Andres Barrera, y à su costa, 1617]. ,300,6 leaves, printed in double columns. Large woodcut vignette on titlepage. Folio. Contemporary limp vellum. Some minor worming with occasional loss, title-leaf shaved with loss of imprint, a few other leaves shaved with loss of catchwords. Very good. Item #WRCAM38369
An unsophisticated copy of El Inca's history of Peru, a fundamental history of early America, here in its second issue, differing from the first only in its variant titlepage. The second issue of the second part of Garcilaso de la Vega's famous HISTORIA GENERAL... or "Royal Commentaries" which had been published first, a few months earlier in Cordova, in 1616. This issue includes the same text block as the first, with only a variant titlepage with a different and larger vignette of the Virgin, and the words "y à su costa" added to the imprint. The first issue is virtually unobtainable and is known in only two copies (at the Bibliothèque Nationale and the John Carter Brown Library). The text and titlepage for the first issue were probably printed in late 1616, indeed the errata leaf includes the date "12. de Novembre de 1616," and the JCB copy contains both the 1616 and 1617 titlepages. For the present second issue, the 1616 titlepage was cancelled and a new reset titlepage dated 1617 was added to the original printing of the text. The two parts of Garcilaso de la Vega's history are actually considered to be two separate but complementary works, which were originally published separately. This second "part" is largely concerned with the period between the Spanish conquest and the civil war in the area. The critic, Menendez y Pelayo, called the HISTORIA GENERAL... "the most genuinely American book that has ever been written, and perhaps the only one in which a reflection of the soul of the conquered races has survived." "Like the first part, the second is a commentary rather than a history, for...'El Inca' quotes largely from other writers...always carefully indicating the quotations and naming the authors. But his memory was well stored with anecdotes that he had heard when a boy; and with these he enlivens the narrative" - Winsor, p.569. Garcilaso de la Vega, known as "El Inca," was born in Peru and spent his formative years there, living out his later life in Spain. His father was a Spanish conquistador and a participant in the events that his son chronicles, while his mother was an Inca princess born in Cuzco. "He was a gentleman of refinement and possessed of much learning, speaking Spanish and Quichua from infancy. A descendant of the proud race of the Incas, he was a most industrious and careful historian of the evil fortunes of his race, as well as a chronicler of the victories of the conquerors" - Maggs. His contemporary record of the early Spanish period in Peru is most valuable, as it is based on eyewitness testimony and personal observation. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 617/55. FIELD 590 (note). LeCLERC 614. MAGGS BIBLIOTHECA AMERICANA VI:413. OCLC 11494608. MEDINA, BHA 658. PALAU 354789. SABIN 98755. WINSOR II, p.575.