William Morris’s exquisitely transcribed and illuminated 1872 version of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is reproduced in complete facsimile in this new Folio Society edition.
Illustrated by Daniel Egnéus
Introduced by A. N. Wilson
Translated by Mark Musa
Exquisite illustrations accompany this captivating meditation on love, beauty and spiritual awakening.
Dante Alighieri called the Vita nuova (‘new life’) his libello, or ‘little book’; multi-faceted, intriguing and absorbing, it is diminutive only in length. Written between 1292 and 1294, it is the first of Dante’ major writings and the essential precursor to his Divine Comedy. Elaborately and symbolically patterned, the book purports to contain experiences copied from the poet’s ‘book of memory’. It details the ‘new life’ which dawned when, at the age of nine, he first met Beatrice, one of literature’s most alluring heroines and Dante’s guiding force (though little is known of her life): ‘From that time on’, declares Dante, ‘Love governed my soul.’
Beatrice, who is associated throughout with the number nine, first appears ‘dressed in the most noble of colours, a subdued and decorous crimson’: this Folio edition is bound to match, and crimson forms the palette for the exquisite illustrations by Daniel Egnéus. Printed in two colours, the book presents the Italian text alongside a facing-page translation by Dante scholar Mark Musa, which, as A. N. Wilson writes, captures ‘almost miraculously both the crystalline qualities of Dante’s early verses and the robustness of his Italian prose’. Dante describes Beatrice as ‘one who is through all ages blessed’; 750 years after the author’ birth, the Vita nuova still sings today.
Bound in blocked cloth
Set in Dante with Bembo Titling as display
Frontispiece and 9 integrated illustrations
Gilded gold page edges
Printed in 2 colours throughout
9˝ × 5¾˝
A moving meditation on ethereal and earthly love
‘The Vita nuova, Dante’s first major work of certain attribution, is an original and sophisticated creation’
- Tristan Kay
About Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence around 1265, into a family which he claimed descended from the ancient Romans. Little is known of his education, but in his youth he associated with many of the best-known poets, musicians and artists of the day, including Guido Cavalcanti. Around the age of 20 he married Gemma Donati, who bore him several children. He entered politics in 1295 and became one of the six governing Priors of Florence in 1300, but was forced into exile with his party in 1301. He wrote, taught and lectured, producing the Convivio, De Monarchia and the Divina Commedia, which is widely considered the greatest work of Italian literature. He died in Ravenna in 1321.
About Mark Musa
Mark Musa was Distinguished Professor of Italian at Indiana University. A former Fulbright Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, he published numerous books and articles on Italian literature. His acclaimed translations include works by Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli and Dante.
About A. N. Wilson
A. N. Wilson is a writer, newspaper columnist and television presenter. After studying at New College, Oxford, he spent a year training for the priesthood before turning to writing. His non-fiction works include The Victorians (2002; The Folio Society, 2008), Dante in Love (2011), and lives of Hilaire Belloc, C. S. Lewis, John Betjeman, Tolstoy and Jesus, among others. His novel Winnie and Wolf was longlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize. For The Folio Society he has introduced Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers (2011).
About Daniel Egenéus
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