Very Good. Item #6396
Milan: Fratelli Treves Editori, 1904. Octavo; 560pp. The 24 documentary B&W photographs of Venice—augmented with one professionally transcribed aria score, photographically reproduced, and tipped onto a stub—appear to have been added by the binder. That handsome binding is from the celebrated American bindery of Stikeman & Co., and presents crimson half leather with raised spine bands, gilt titling and ornaments in the panels. The boards and endpapers are both in cream laid paper, stained in clouds of honey and rose. The borders between leather and board are ruled in gilt; top of textblock gilded. The Stikeman stamp is on the verso of the front free endpaper. Entirely in Italian with the exception of photo captions.
The raised spine bands, crown, foot, and joints show color flaking and minor scuffing, as do the panel edges and corners. Textblock is unmarred and unmarked, with mild consistent age-tanning at leaf edges throughout. Gilt at top of textblock still brilliant.
D'Annunzio's novel—a libidinous scandal in its day, and therefore a bestseller; the first in a planned but never completed trilogy to be called the "Novels of the Pomegranate"—fictionalizes his real affair with the celebrated actress Eleanora Duse. D'Annunzio takes full advantage of the Venetian setting to lower his characters', and his readers', inhibitions. The binder and the binder's commissioner appreciated that setting so much that they added photos from the Boston Perry Pictures firm, showing the glories of Venice, all captioned in English. At the point where the fictionalized liaison turns on Monteverdi's famous aria "Lasciateme morire," the musical score is deftly tipped in, lest we miss the power of the moment.