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'Encyclopedie Americano' For Armchair Travellers

Anonymous. Il gazzettiere americano contenente un Distinto Ragguaglio di Tutte le Parti del Nuovo Mondo della loro Situazione, Clima, Terreno, Prodotti, Stato Antico e Moderno... Livorno, Marco Coltellini, 1763.

Folio, 3 vol., (3) ff. including engraved frontispiece and title, xxiii, (1), 216 pp., (1) f.; 256 pp.; 253 pp., (1) f. 78 maps and plates. Most likely a married set, with vol. 1 in contemporary vellum, lower edge of front cover exposed to pasteboard; remaining vols. in somewhat later vellum, with spines partially rebacked; 19th-century ownership inscription (G. Traccalossi) on verso of frontispiece, library stamp on half-title and frontispiece. Light finger-soiling, repair to first map, occasional staining but generally good.


First Italian edition of this comprehensive geographical dictionary of the New World. "This translation of the American Gazetteer [3 vols., London, 1762], is practically a new work, having been greatly enlarged, and with eighty plates and maps engraved for this edition." ( Borba, p. 347). In the Italian editor's introduction, he explains that America's growing importance in French and English affairs had produced a need for a general text on the continent, suitable for curious amateurs. "Of non-Iberian Europe, Italy probably had the longest tradition of travel literature. ...It was therefore natural for the Italian public to be avidly interested in the new discoveries, even though... these discoveries did not directly concern the Italians."
(Penrose, p. 304.)

The Gazzettiere focuses on the current state of affairs - commerce, the arts, and European political influences - as opposed to the history of discovery. As much as it purports to cover all areas of the New World, an English bias is evident; there are extensive articles devoted to the New England area, particularly Boston, the "pre-eminent city of the British Empire in America" (vol. I, p. 42). A 5-page entry on Brazil appears in the first volume, featuring engravings of a toucan and a monkey. Also included is a map of Condamine's 1743 expedition down the Amazon.

The majority of the 21 maps contained in the Gazzettiere were based on those of Emanuel Bowen (1714-67), Royal Geographer of George II and Louis XV.

* Sabin 26,814; Howes, A 207; Borba, p. 347, faulty collation.

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