Sims Reed Rare Books×

The Betrothed Lovers; A Milanese Tale of the XVIIth. Century: Translated from the Italian of Alessandro Manzoni

Manzoni, Alessandro

Pisa. Nicolas Capurro, Lung'Arno. 1828
The very rare first edition in English of Alessandro Manzoni's masterpiece of Italian literature 'I Promessi Sposi'.

'Il più celebre romanzo della letterattura Italiano.' (Fabrizio Govi).

Alessandro Manzoni's masterpiece, considered by many to be the finest work of Italian literature after Dante, was composed in the early 1820s, completed in 1823 and published volume by volume between 1825 and 1827. The book made Manzoni famous immediately and was admired widely. This English translation, published anonymously, but the work of Charles Swan, was printed in Pisa and issued in England in June, 1828.

Very scarce on the market, we can trace only three copies at auction in the last century. This translation is also scarce in institutions and we can trace only those copies at the British Library (two copies - see below), the Bibliothèque Publique of Yverdon-les-bains in Switzerland and eight copies in the US (at Illinois, the Ransom Center, the Huntington, the Morgan, Indiana, Virginia, Chicago and Princeton); COPAC adds a further copy at Oxford. The two copies held by the British Library appear to be different issues: that with Capurro listed as the publisher (as for the present copy) and that with the Rivingtons.

[see Govi 295 for the first Italian edition].
pp. (i), (i), xvii, (i), 390, (ii); 397; 347, (i). 3 vols. 12mo. (198 x 122 mm). Printed title to each vol., vol. I with leaf with dedication 'To the Chevalier Louis Chiaveri', 'Preface' by the translator, introduction by Manzoni dated 'Milano, 25 Gennajo, 1828', leaf with 'Advertisement' and Manzoni's text in 34 chapters (XI in vol. I, XII. in vol. II and XI in vol. III), final leaf of vol. I with advertisements, final leaf of final vol. with errata verso. Full contemporary vellum, gilt decoration and titles to spines.

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