TWENTIETH CENTURY ITALIAN IMPRINTS - British Library ?· TWENTIETH CENTURY ITALIAN IMPRINTS Denis Reidy…

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RECENT ACQUISITIONS

TWENTIETH CENTURY ITALIAN IMPRINTS

Denis Reidy

P R I N T I N G with movable type was introduced into Italy in 1465 by two Germans,Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz, who printed the first Italian book,Lactantius's De Divinis Institutionibus^ at the Monastery of Subiaco near Rome. By thebeginning of the sixteenth century, Italian printers had earned an unrivalled reputationfor the printing of works in clear and elegant types, the most celebrated being * Roman'and 'Italic'. They were also renowned for the beautiful layout and design of their books.By this time, virtually every major city in the Italian peninsula could boast at least oneprinting press, while in Venice alone there were more presses to be found than in anyother city in the world. Indeed, it has been calculated that just under fifty per cent ofall sixteenth-century books were printed there. Italian printers 'par excellence' such asAntonio Blado, Aldus Manutius and his heirs, Gabriel Giolito de' Ferrari, the Giuntafamily, and Francesco Marcolini, to name the most famous, had earned a justifiablereputation for printing books in comparatively long print runs and, equally important,for publishing textually accurate and carefully edited works, a prerequisite for theliterary and scientific researches of the Humanist scholar, especially in subjects such asbiblical and classical exegesis. Italian printers were also famed for illustrating their bookswith woodcuts and engravings of the finest quality. These were not only of great beautybut were essential for scientific works, especially books on anatomy.

The tradition of producing finely printed and lavishly illustrated books was continuedin the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by such celebrated printers as GiambattistaAlbrizzi and Giambattista Bodoni, to name but two, and is still very much alive in ourown century. Contemporary Italian printers are renowned for the attractive presentationof their books, the clarity and elegance of their texts, the beauty of their 'livres d'artiste'and, above all, the very high quality of their colour printing. Indeed, a high proportionof books requiring fine colour reproduction are printed in Italy, regardless of languageor place of publication.

The British Library's collections of Italian fine printing are exceptional. Books printedin Italy formed a high proportion of the Library's foundation collections, and the Italiancollections were greatly enhanced in the nineteenth century by the acquisition of GeorgeIll 's Library and Thomas Grenville's magnificent bequest, together with the judiciouspurchases of Sir Anthony Panizzi. Today, purchased additions to the Library's Italian

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collections are made as funds permit. All the twentieth-century imprints described belowhave been added to the Library's holdings between 1975 and 1990. With the exceptionof some of the Officina Bodoni books all were printed in Italy. All are first editions unlessotherwise indicated and all have been purchased except for the editions of The Sayingsof the Seven Sages of Greece and Coatlicue which were donated to the Library.

Italian Futurist Works

Three years after the publication of his famous Manifesto of Futurism in Le Figaro on 20February 1909, Marinetti published his influential Technical Manifesto of FuturistLiterature in which he made his celebrated statement: 'After free verse - now at last,WORDS IN FREEDOM!' Marinetti and the Futurist writers believed that wordsshould be freed from the 'prison' of traditional syntax and that adjectives, conjunctions,adverbs and even punctuation itself should be abandoned. Marinetti also advocated theuse of onomatopoeia and the visual impact of print, imaginative typography and worddistortion and where appropriate '3 or 4 different inks and 20 different typefaces'.

D'ALBA, Auro [Umberto Bottone]. Baionette:versi liberi e parole in liberta. Milano: Edizionifuturiste di 'Poesia\ 1915. 140 pp.; 23 cm.

This work entitled 'Bayonets' by the lesser-known Italian Futurist Umberto Bottoneclearly shows the literal 'freedom' of wordsboth in prose and poetry, hence their ' free' andat times apparently random distribution on thepage.

Cup. 408. ww. 37.

CANGIULLO, Francesco. Poesia pentagram-mata. Napoli: Gaspare Casella., 1923. 44 pp.;22 cm.

Cangiullo believed that since music was theonly truly ' international' language, poetrywould be appreciated by a wider audience if itwere literally written on the preprinted musicmanuscript paper used by composers of music.He also believed that with this added visualadvantage, the reader would better appreciatethe musicality and lyricism of his poetry.

Cup. 408. ww. 38.

Luigi. La cucina futurista. Milano: Sonzogno,[1932]. 267 pp.; 19 cm.

This rare and curious work by Marinetti andFillia on futuristic cuisine contains someoutlandish and 'revolutionary' culinary recipesincluding 'Edible Skier', 'Immortal Trout','Excited Pig', 'Bombe a la Marinetti', 'Fu-turistic Pheasant', 'Divorced Eggs', 'AlpineLove' and a 'Stomach Awakener'. The workalso contains a fascinating dictionary of fu-

turistic cuisme.

Cup. 408. ww. 45.

M A R I N E T T I , Filippo Tommaso. Enqueteinternationale sur le Vers libre et Manifeste duFuturisme [par F. T. Marinetti]. {Poesia, annee5). Milano: Editions de 'Poesia\ 1909. 153 pp.;19 cm.

X.958/18063.

M A R I N E T T I , Filippo Tommaso. F. T. Mari-netti presenta i nuovi poeti futuristi. Roma:Edizioni futuriste di 'Poesia\ 1925. 361 pp.;21 cm.

M A R I N E T T I , Filippo Tommaso, and F I L L I A , This fascinating anthology contains work of the

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AURODALBAFUTURISTA

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Cup.408.WW.37.

futurist poets including Catrizzi, Cremonesi,Dolfi, Escodame, Farfa, Filha, Folicaldi, Ger-bino, Guatteri, Mainardi, Maino, Marchesi,Marinetti, Sanzin, Simonetti and Vianello.Marinetti's interesting introduction to thepoets sheds much light on the aims of thefuturist poets and futurism in general. Thiscopy is inscribed to Romana [De La SoUe (?)]as an 'omaggio futurista' by Marinetti.

Cup.408. WW.41.

M A R I N E T T I , Filippo Tommaso. GabrieleD'Annunzio intime. Milano: Verde e azzurro,1903. 29 pp.; 18 cm.

Many of the Italian Futurist writers, par-ticularly the majority of the younger poets,held the older generation of Italian poets incontempt. Giovanni Pascoli, for example, wasdeemed to be too sentimental and GabrieleD'Annunzio too decadent and tainted with

Cup.408.ww.47.

Nietzscheism. Marinetti's hterary relationshipwith D'Annunzio has always been difficult toestablish. Although the two writers had muchin common, Marinetti appears to have had alove-hate relationship with D'Annunzio andhis oeuvre. In this early work, which hededicated to D'Annunzio, Marinetti's textbetrays a hint of mockery, which is captured bythe illustration on the dust cover showing thewarrior bard and future hero of Fiume dustinghis laurels.

Cup.408 .WW.47.

M A R I N E T T I , Filippo Tommaso. Mafarka ilFuturista: romanzo. Milano: Edizioni futuristedi 'Posia\ 1910. 329 pp.; 19 cm.

The original French edition of Marinetti's'Mafarka' was published by E. Sansot in 1909at Paris, the cultural capital of Europe. Thefirst Italian translation of his scandalous new'African novel' whicb best exemplified Mari-netti's theories at the time appeared one yearlater. Mafarka^ the story of a black FuturistSuperman who is a warrior and at the sametime the founder of a new ' religion' of ' daily

Heroism and the Will made extrinsic', broughtMarinetti further notoriety since he wasprosecuted for obscenity at a trial which causeda sensation.

Cup. 408. ww. 42.

M A R I N E T T I , Filippo Tommaso. L'Aeroplanodel Papa: romanzo profetico in versi liberi.Milano: Edizioni futuriste di 'Poesia\ 1914.259 pp.; 19 cm.

The Futurists were anticlerical in the main andseized every opportunity to mock the clergy -'we are as distant from internationalist un-patriotic Socialism (ignoble celebration of therights of the stomach) as from timid priest-ridden Conservatism, symbolized by carpet-slippers and the warming pan.' Indeed, at thefirst performance of Marinetti's ' Le RoiBombance', at the Theatre de TOeuvre in Parison 3 April 1909, a full-scale riot was sparked offby the thunderous sound effects of a priest'sdigestive system in Act II. 'The Pope'sAeroplane', a 'prophetic novel in free verse' isno exception. The original French edition LeMonoplan du Pape was published in Paris by E.Sansot in 1912. This edition is the first Italiantranslation from the French. This particularcopy is inscribed by Marinetti to his friend[Barres (.>)].

Cup. 408. ww. 43.

MARINETTI , Filippo Tommaso. II poema deiSansepolcristi. [Milano?]: Tipografia del'Pop-olo (ritalia\ 1939. 13 pp.; 24cm.

Marinetti wrote this poem in 1939 to celebratethe thirtieth anniversary of the foundation ofthe Futurist movement. He dedicated the workto 'Italian Futurist poets and artists', and alsoto the newspapers Le Figaro and Le Temps inwhose columns the Futurist movement wasdiscussed at length.

Cup. 408. ww. 40.

i:-; VITTfWA

AUTORTTRATTO

Cup.4io.f.i63.

M A R I N E T T I , Filippo Tommaso. Scatoled'amore in conserva. IUustrazioni di Pannaggicoperta e fregi di Carlo A. Petrucci. Roma:Edizioni d'arte Fauna, IQ27. 92 pp.; 17 cm.

This uncommon autobiographical work whosetitle translates literally as ' Tins of love inpreserve' shows Marinetti in a humorousvein. The illustrations and decorations byPannaggi and particularly the ornaments andtailpieces by Carlo Petrucci impart an unusualcharm to this edition.

Cup.410.f. 163.

M A R I N E T T I , Filippo Tommaso, and AZARI,F. Primo dizionario aereo italiano. Milano:Morreak, 1929. 153 pp.; 18 cm.

Some of the fundamental themes of Futurismincluded the cult of war which was consideredto be 'the sole hygiene of the world', the cult

97

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Cup.408.WW.36.

of technical progress, the beauty of speed andthe cult of the machine and, in particular, theaeroplane - ' W e shall sing...of the flight ofaeroplanes, the sound of whose propellers ishke the flapping of flags and the applause of anenthusiastic crowd ...'. Marinetti's ' AerialDictionary' was considered prescribed readingfor disciples of the movement.

Cup. 408. w. 12.

MAZZA, Armando. Firmamento. (ArmandoMazza futurista; con una spiegazione di F. T.Marinetti sulle Parole in liberta). Milano:Edizioni futuriste di ''Poesia\ 1920. 105 pp.;22 cm.

Marinetti's introduction to the work containsfurther useful information on the theory of'parole in liberta'.

Cup. 408. ww. 39.

MoRPURGO, Nelson. II fuoco delle Piramidi:liriche e parole in liberta. (Nelson Morpurgo,futurista; con prefazione di F. T. Marinetti).Milano: Edizioni futuriste di Poesia\ 1923.29 pp.; 25 cm.

Cup. 408. ww. 36.

RussOLO, Luigi. L'arte dei rumori. Milano:Edizioni futuriste di 'Poesia\ 1916. 92 pp.;plates; port. 22 cm.

This rare and curious work on 'the art ofnoises' by the futurist musician Russolo(1885-1947) contains his theories on futuristicmusic. Russolo composed music which heintended to be played on curious futuristicmusical instruments of his own invention, inparticular his ' Intonarumori' (noise-intoners).His bizarre instruments were even demon-strated at the London Coliseum in 1914. Thiscopy contains Russolo's inscription to AndreCoeuroy 'avec amitie' et reconnaissance' datedParis, 19 June 1932.

X.629/13035.

Books printed by the Officina Bodoni

Giovanni Mardersteig, the great scholar-printer and founder of the famous hand pressof the Officina Bodoni who died in 1977, was granted special permission to print bookswith types cast from the original matrices used by the great Italian printer and letter-cutter Giambattista Bodoni of Parma (1740-1813). Mardersteig initially set up his handpress at Montagnola di Lugano in Switzerland in 1922. Perhaps one of the mostcelebrated Ofl'icina Bodoni editions was the national edition of the works of the Italian

poet Gabriele D'Annunzio which was printed in 1927. Shortly after the publication ofthis edition the press was transferred to Verona where it has remained to this day. Withthe addition of copper-plate and lithographic presses the Officina Bodoni expanded andproduced books of extremely high editorial and scholarly standards many of which wereillustrated by contemporary artists such as Pietro Annigoni, Giacomo Manzu andGunther Bohmer. All books printed by the Officina Bodoni are invariably elegant andprinted with painstaking precision, are often beautifully illustrated and are alwaysattractive. They are consequently much sought after by collectors wishing to ownexamples of the work of a man who has been referred to as 'probably the finest pressmanthe world has ever seen or is ever likely to see'. The British Library's collections of worksprinted by the Officina Bodoni are particularly fine. Additions to the British Library'scollections since 1975 include;

BASK IN, Leonard. To Colour Thought.[Printed for the Beinecke Library], New Haven,[Connecticut,] ig6y; Verona: Officina Bodoni,[September] 1967. 27 pp.; 10 plates; 25 cm.

This is copy no. 175 of 300 copies printed onCernobbio paper in red and black set inMardersteig's 12-, 11-, and io-point Dantetype. The text of Leonard Baskin's lecture, 'ToColour Thought', was first delivered on theoccasion of the opening of the Graphic Artscollection in Yale University Library on 9 May1966. The ten illustrations were printed (incollotype and offset) at the Meriden GravureCompany, Connecticut. The frontispiece is areproduction frotn William Blake's Small Bookof Designs and the calligraphic half-title wasdesigned by Crimilda Pontes.

Cup. 510.ee. 56.

DANTE A L I G H I E R I , Vita Nuova di Dante(proemio di Benedetto Croce). Montagnola:Officina Bodoni, 1925. [vii], loi pp.; 36 cm.

This edition of Dante's Vita Nuova whichcontains a preface by Benedetto Croce (1866-1952) was printed on a hand press usingBodoni's original types. Only 225 copies of thisedition were printed on handmade Fabrianopaper, and five other copies were printed onvellum.

Cup.510.ee.51.

F E L I C I A N O , Felice. Alphabetum romanum,edited by Giovanni Mardersteig. Verona:Editiones Officinae Bodoni^ i960. 137 pp.;plates; 23 cm.

This work is an edition of Codex Vaticanuslat. 6852 which contains the treatise by theVeronese humanist Felice Feliciano in whichhe described the geometrical construction ofRoman capital letters. This is copy no. 154 ofthe English edition of 400 copies. German andItalian versions were also published in i960.

Cup.510.cc. 58.

GOGOL, Nikolai Vasil'evich. Tbe Overcoat,from the Tales of Petersburg; original Russiantext [by] Nikolay Gogol; with an Englishtranslation by Cons...