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2020-12-22 01:16:45
SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe
The Cenci A Tragedy, in Five Acts
Printed for C. and J. Ollier, [Livorno], Italy, 1819. 8vo. xiv, 104 pp. Full green crushed morocco, gilt, by Sangorski & Sutcliffe; bound without first blank, fine save for occasional pencil marks to margins First edition, one of 250 copies. Based on real events, the tragic story of Beatrice, "La Cenci," a Roman noblewoman executed in 1599 for the murder of her tyrannical and abusive father. Shelley was inspired to write the play after seeing Guido's portrait from life of the imprisoned Beatrice; he claims in the Preface that he learned the details of the case from a manuscript copied from the archives of the Cenci Palace. With its theme of the corruption and cruelty of the aristocracy, Shelley intended the work to appeal to the masses, and consciously avoided poetic language: "I have avoided with great care in writing this play the introduction of what is commonly called mere poetry, and I imagine there will scarcely be found a detached simile or a single isolated description" (Preface, p. xi). Though the play sold well enough to warrant a second edition (the only one of Shelley's works to do so in his lifetime), its depictions of incest and parricide made it unsuitable to stage. It was first staged privately by the Shelley Society in 1886 on the occasion of Robert Browning's birthday (Browning, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw were in attendance) and first publicly staged in 1922 in London. The Cenci was the first major work of Shelley's to earn the praise of his father-in-law, William Godwin, who preferred its defined characters and presence of a plot to the moral ab … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Bull's Head Rare Books [Lebanon, NJ, U.S.A.]
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