“IT IS CLEAR THAT HIS OUTLOOK ON THE WORLD IS ENTIRELY SENSUOUS”: FIRST TWO VOLUMES OF POETRY FROM GABRIELE D’ANNUNZIO’S LAUDI SERIES, 1903
D’ANNUNZIO, Gabriele. Laudi del Cielo del Mare dela Terra e Degli Eroi (Praises of the Sky, Sea, Land and Heroes). Maia. WITH: Elettra and Alcyone. Milano: Fratelli Treves, 1903. Three works in two volumes, as issued. Small quarto, original full vellum (and parchment), yap edges, gilt-decorated covers and spines, silk ties, uncut. $750.
Scarce first editions of the first two volumes from Italian poet, playwright and film-maker Gabriele D’Annunzio’s poetic series Laudi— which earned him the reputation as “the best interpreter of European decadence.” Borders and tailpieces by Joseph Cellini.
In keeping with the prevailing Decadent aesthetic, Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio “combined in his work naturalism, symbolism, and erotic images, becoming the best interpreter of European decadence… His love affairs… made him a legend in his own time” (Liukkonen & Pesonen). D’Annunzio’s poetic series Laudi del Cielo del Mare dela Terra e Degli Eroi appeared in five books from 1903-18, each named for one of the stars in the constellation Taurus. The first, Maia, is “a hymn to life in all its aspects”— inspired by Nietzsche and devoted to superhuman feats. In it, the protagonist is the poet himself who is represented as a modern Ulysses traveling between myth and present-day reality. Of his second volume, containing both Elettra and Alcyone, D’Annunzio said “it is a summer of poetry— a season of poetic maturity.” “I spent these days in a deep quiet,” he explained to his publishers, “lying in a boat in the sun… The mouth of the Arno has a sweetness so pure that I cannot compare it to the mouth of any woman I love.” “D’Annunzio is above all things a great lyric poet… It is clear that his outlook on the world is entirely sensuous” (L. Collison-Morley). “Not to have learned anything from him would be a very bad sign” (Eugenio Montale). Text in Italian. Owner signature and pencil annotations of S.V.H. Russo of Arrochar, Staten Island. Bookplate in Volume II.
Volume I fine, a bit of edge-wear and rubbing to parchment binding of Volume II. A scarce pair, in about-fine condition.