Magie. Preface de Jean Royère.

Paris, Albert Messein, 1938.

4to, pp. 127, [1 (blank)]; with half-title; a very good copy, uncut and largely unopened, in the original printed orange paper wrappers, front cover with a Pegasus vignette by Antoine Bourdelle; perforated stamp ‘A M’ or ‘M A’ to rear cover.


US $440€408

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First edition of a rare work of verse and prose poetry; a presentation copy from the author ‘à son Eminence le Cardinal Mercier; hommage humble et respectueux d’un catholique italien; Paolo Giusti / Paris, Janvier 1938’.

Giusti (born 1884, in Venice) wrote much of his poetry in Italian before translating it into French, but he nonetheless worked in strict rhyme schemes, attempting notoriously difficult translations of terza rima. His work bears more resemblance to Verlaine, or perhaps Swinburne in English, than to Mallarmé, but is nevertheless presented by Royère as working within the same school. As Royère’s preface makes clear, the title is derived from an essay by Mallarmé, in which he deplores those who would relegate poetry to ‘une magie à côté’ [magic at the fringe of language], where it can be explained away. This preface, a forcefully-argued short work of criticism, argues for the unity of prose and poetry from Symbolist principles; in particular that rhythm should not be imposed upon a poem, but instead emerge from its verbal complexity, which it considers the ‘crux of thought’.

The publisher Albert Messein was editor and publisher to Verlaine, Baudelaire, and Mallarmé, and Magie formed part of the ‘Collection Phalange’ in connection with Jean Royère’s literary revue of that name. Giusti had published a number of works in Milan (and one in St Louis, MO) before the present piece, including a translation of Wilde’s An Ideal Husband (staged in Rome in 1918).

OCLC records only two copies: Bibliothèque nationale de France and University of Ottawa. Not in Library Hub.

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