Very Good. Item #5969
Milan: I Fratelli Treves, 1904. Octavo; 280pp. Original broché wrappers retained within elaborate vellum cover-binding added soon after publication. Vernacular binding in vellum, with yapp edges at fore-edge, meticulous neo-Renaissance calligraphed author and title on front panel in three colors, and elaborate leather bands sewn, with thin vellum strips, to appear as wrap-around hinges. The original broché volume was itself handsomely printed on laid paper; its retained wrapper is block-stamped with full-panel allegorical woodcut, including frame, emblem, and cartouches, designed by the celebrated painter and illustrator Adolfo de Karolis; his emblem is in the lower right corner of the wrapper front. Title page has another, different, but equally beautiful woodcut of doves and foliage entwined with a banner of three quotations from the canto of Dante's Inferno on which D'Annunzio's play was based.
Vellum fairly soiled and darkened with six additional gray streaks on front; ornamental vellum stitches on leather bands broken in spots, but ornamental author/title calligraphy unscathed. Textblock shows even age-tanning at the edges throughout. Unmarked except for contemporary gift inscription and a later owner's signature on the front free endpaper, outside the original broché volume, added by the binder.
“Francesca da Rimini,” D’Annunzio’s most famous verse tragedy, was originally intended to be the first in a trilogy to be called "I Malatesti” that D’Annunzio never completed; hence the pre-title on this volume. D’Annunzio wrote the play for the most celebrated actress of the age, Eleanora Dusa, basing it on the story of Paolo and Francesca, Dante’s famous lovers in Canto 5 of the Inferno. Our rebinder seems to have appreciated what Dante declared and D’Annunzio expanded: “Galeotto fu il libro....”.