Shakespeare’s Narrative Sources: Italian Novellas and Their European Dissemination

Iulia e Pruneo – Witness Description

The Houghton Library manuscript (comprising 68 leaves of vellum, bound in contemporary morocco) contains: the novella of Ippolito and Lionora, usually ascribed to Leon Battista Alberti (indeed, here the novella is followed by Alberti’s sonnet ‘Chi vol bella vittoria e star sicuro’); Leonardo Bruni’s novella ‘Stratonica’; ‘Iulia and Pruneo’ (21r.-36v.); two other anonymous novellas, ‘Hyeronimo and Lucretia’, and ‘Antonia and Antonio’; eclogues and ballads by Leon Battista Alberti, Francesco Arzocchi and Giovan Francesco Suardi. Feliciano’s hand is elegant and refined, with ornate titles and initial letters in red and blue ink. This manuscript “is essentially an anthology of Feliciano’s favorite specimens of prose and poetry, collected very probably for the merely esthetic purpose of creating a showcase of his elaborate upright italic hand” (Monga 1989, 47).