Still quoted as an authority on Müteferrika

Toderini, Giambattista, SJ. Letteratura Turchesca.

Venice, Giacomo Storti, 1787.

3 vols. (16), 256 pp. (2), 224, XLIV pp. (2), 259, (1) pp. All 3 titles engraved; with 2 folding engraved plates of music at the end of vol. 1. Slightly later half cloth with gilt spine.


First edition. An excellent source work on the culture of the Ottoman Empire, one of the first publications ever to treat the subject. Part 1, pp. 222 ff., discusses Turkish music (with two plates of music, also showing a tanbur). Part 2 mainly treats of libraries and book collections, while part 3 contains the first-ever catalogue of the famous Müteferrika press - a closely annotated bibliography of the books produced by the first Turkish printshop, installed under Ahmed III in 1727. "Toderini is still quoted as an authority on this press by modern bibliographers [...] Giovanni Battista Toderini (1728-99), Venetian philologist and book collector, accompanied the Garzoni embassy to Constantinople in 1781" (Blackmer). There, he spent five years "studying Ottoman civilization and collecting Turkish mathematical instruments as well as a great number of Arabic books and manuscripts. The work contains much information on Turkish letters, and includes a list of the books from the Seraglio library which he took to Venice on his return" (Atabey).

An excellent, well-preserved copy with a Jesuit library bookplate identifying this set as a gift of Henri Cailloué.

Atabey 1223. Blackmer 1664. Eitner IX, 415. RISM B VI, 835. Fétis VIII, 233. Brunet V, 873. Graesse VI.2, 165. De Backer/S. VIII, 58, no. 8. Bigmore/W. III, 18. Biografia Universale LVII, 456f. Not in Besterman.