«Infeliçe e sventuratta coca Querina»

“1431. The cot of Venetian patrician Pietro Querini, bound for Flanders, goes off course due to a series of violent fortunals and is abandoned in the middle of the sea by its sailors. 

Only a few survivors landed on a rock in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, far beyond the Arctic Circle, and – shipwrecked – were rescued by the local population. The details of the voyage and of this miraculous rescue are described by a dual narrative, one edited by Querini himself and the other which is a transcript of the testimony of two of his shipmates, Cristofalo Fioravante and Nicolò de Michiele. 

The shipwreck of the “cocca querina” owes its literary fortune to Giovanni Battista Ramusio, who, in the sixteenth century, published the manuscript sources, cleverly manipulating several parts of them. The present volume, however, restores the original look of that tale, allowing on the one hand to appreciate its forthright 15th-century Venetian language and on the other hand to enter Ramusio’s workshop and unveil his interventions on the text, motivated by linguistic-literary needs and historical necessity.”

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