San Francisco: The Arion Press, 2015. Giovan Battista Poletto. 9-5/16 by 6-11/16 inches, 288 pages. The paper is Mohawk Superfine. The text type is Neo Didot, composed and cast on the Monotype by Mackenzie & Harris, printed in black. The display type is Narciss, handset, printed in color. The type was printed by letterpress on a Miller two-color cylinder press. The color photographs were printed by offset lithography, brokered by Susan Schaefer. The binding shows a coat of arms from Lampedusa’s ancestors in the early eighteenth century with a leaping leopard. The edition is limited to 300 copies for sale. New. Item #CNAP102
"The Leopard" is one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. Its author Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, who died July 23, 1957, at the age of 60, did not live to see its publication. Although a member of the intellectual elite of Sicily, he published little else and had written the novel only in the last thirty months of his life. The book’s intriguing editorial and publishing history is told in the foreword and appendix by Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, a relative and the adopted son of Lampedusa, who became his literary heir.
The story of the Prince of Salina is based on the life of Lampedusa’s grandfather, Giulio Fabrizio Tomasi, Prince of Lampedusa, who was a respected amateur astronomer and lived in the grand tradition of his noble forebears, although after his death in 1885 the economic and social status of his family declined. The novel begins with the invasion of Garibaldi’s rebel forces and ends with the aftermath of the death of the Prince and the fraying relationships and lessening prospects of the surviving family members.
The novel was attacked from both the left and the right, but was soon recognized internationally for its formal brilliance and subtle view of historical change. The reputation of Lampedusa’s literary masterpiece is equaled by that of its adaptation as a film in 1963. As the eminent film historian David Thomson writes: "Lucchino Visconti's movie of 'The Leopard' is more than fifty years old, and a monument to another age - not just in recapturing the Sicilian aristocracy of the nineteenth century, but as a three-hour spectacle on 70mm film in Technicolor."
During the filming of "The Leopard", a photographer named Giovan Battista Poletto took color photographs on the set. His images are not identical to those in the motion picture Il Gattopardo but show the main characters and key incidents played out at the legendary locations in Sicily. Out of the many photographs taken by Poletto, thirty-two were chosen, to appear throughout the book in proximity to the action, with identifying captions.
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