Rare Hispanica from Libreria de Antano
By Michael Stillman
We have a new catalogue from Libreria de Antano of Argentina, entitled Rara Hispanica. Though the title is in Spanish, we are confident English-speakers will understand the meaning without a translation. Actually, there is more good news for people whose primary language is English. Though most titles in this catalogue are in Spanish, Libreria de Antano had provided descriptions both in Spanish and English. This catalogue is presented in chronological order, beginning in 1562, concluding in 1990. For the 16th through the 19th century, we find mostly historical, nonfiction works. With the 20th century, most are literary works from Latin America's great writers. Here are a few of the items pertaining to Spain and Latin America offered in this collection.
Item 3 is Constituciones synodales del Arcobispado de los Reyes en el Peru, by Bartolome Lobo Guerrero. Lobo Guerrero was a notable churchman in Latin America, eventually being appointed Archbishop of Lima in 1609. This work is one of the first treatises on canon law published in America. It was printed only 28 years after the first item printed in South America, on what was the first and still only press on the continent (though published by its second owner, Francisco del Canto). It was published in Lima in 1614. Priced at $16,500.
Item 4 is the fundamental eyewitness account of the conquest of Mexico, Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva Espana, by Bernal Diaz del Castillo. Diaz traveled from Spain to the New World in search of his fortune. He hooked up with a couple of expeditions to the Yucatan, including one with de Cordoba, but they hardly made him wealthy. Then, in 1519, he joined Hernan Cortes in what would be the expedition that permanently changed the face of Mexico. Cortes would lead his men to the destruction of the Aztec empire and the conquering of Mexico. Diaz consulted with other members of the expedition and used their experiences to create a narrative of the events. Diaz died in 1585, and though he had created a manuscript of his experiences, it was not published during his lifetime. It remained hidden in a library in Madrid until 1632 when Alonso Remon had this first edition (first issue) published. $24,000.
Libreria de Antano describes item 20 as "the most important Spanish scientific expedition to America." It is Relacion historica del viage a la America Meridional and Observaciones astronomicas y phisicas... by Antonio de Ulloa and Jorge Juan, five volumes published in 1748. Actually, it was a French scientific mission on which the two Spaniards traveled, though with the support of the Spanish King. Their aim was to determine the length of a degree of longitude at the equator and whether the earth was perfectly spherical. However, the journey lasted nine years, and the authors came back with great quantities of information about South America, including geography, geology, plants and animals, people, history, and everything else, including their own travel adventures. $24,500.