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SOLD - Vintage book of essays / studies A Shadow of Dante by Maria Francesca Rossetti, writings on his philosophies & life 1897 special ed.

SOLD - Vintage book of essays / studies A Shadow of Dante by Maria Francesca Rossetti, writings on his philosophies & life 1897 special ed.

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Overview

  • Vintage item from the 1800s
  • Favorited by: 6 people
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Description

There is no other book like this one.

Really, I can't find it! Any other copy is different from this one--I cannot find this beautiful golden one anywhere, so it truly is alone and unique. There are archived, digital versions of it available, but of course you should buy this one so you can own it, own the physical first edition masterpiece that this is, such a beautiful golden work engraved in ink flowers and curved-line patterns you could get lost in. There is no way a digital version can do the same as the physical version when it comes to unfolding and holding out the fold-out pieces included here, illustrations and diagrams that help describe visually what Rossetti is talking about, and therefor what Dante was talking about. There is no way to replicate that online, and the feeling of doing it with your hands, book in lap, lifting the folded paper up like a slinky (so high! so many folds and so long a piece of paper, some of these!) and holding it out to examine it like some old, vintage, delicate map...it's amazing, really, and one of the reasons this book is so special to read and own and have up on your shelf.

If you are interested at all in Dante Alighieri, the legendary Italian poet of the middle ages, or literature during that time period, Dante's famous Inferno or other works, then this book is for you.

Maria Francesca Rossetti, I should note, is the author, and brother was also famous as an artist at the time of her writing, and also named Dante, which can get confusing and is not mentioned too much in this book aside from the fact Dante Gabriel (Rossetti) designed part of the imagery including the frontispiece which includes a portrait of a young Dante Alighieri and the older Dante's death-mask.

The Dante we are talking about here is the one Maria Francesca Rossetti describes in such a beautiful literary way, right in the first few lines, as "a name unlimited in place and period. Not Italy, but the Universe, is his birthplace; not the fourteenth century, but all Time, is is epcoh." She is kind of right, it is kind of true -- Dante has a place carved in history that outshines the other Dante's, but more than that it outshines so many others'. He alone could have created the period of "Italian poetry" for which he is known as a founder of, when most "high poetry" works were written only in Latin and for exclusively highly educated audiences who could read such language, or written in more formal Italian that did not appeal to or make sense to larger audiences. Dante changed this and wrote for wider audiences, and in this he started a trend, and became shortly known as "the Father of the Italian Language." His talents exceed so far beyond so many writers of all of time, as Rossetti makes very, very clear, that he is still a legend today, and his works are still vigorously studied and appreciated just as those of Shakespeare and Homer.

If it were 1897, Maria Francesca's book A Shadow of Dante would be the one text classrooms would be working on to study Dante, as it is written so refreshingly honestly and engagingly, bringing up questions you didn't even know you had about Dante and his works and their meanings, and challenging the long-held traditional views of Dante that were held at that time as well. You can interpret the man's works in so many ways, and Rossetti was convinced her interpretations were right. This shows in the text, and whether you agree with her or not, that is for you to determine by reading it. Still, it doesn't read as biased or slant -- just passionate. It is clear this woman loved Dante and his works, and that is what makes it such an important book to keep in your collection and survive through the ages. No current Dante scholarship can touch this work, in my opinion, on a physical and historical level in the same way. They just can't. The book was even described by the famed James Russell Lowell as "by far the best comment ever appeared in English." Think about that for a moment. Then think about owning that, holding it in your hands, in this beautiful copy.

Kind of makes you shiver, right?

The book goes well beyond just the popular works and facts of Dante's life, though it treats his Divine Comedy in quotes, and focuses very much on "Inferno" and its meanings via the life of Dante and close text examination. Maria was, at heart, a teacher, it seems. In the "Prefatory and Introductory" Rossetti herself writes, rather hostilely, that "few have gone beyond the Inferno; nay, most have stopped short at two passages of the Inferno." She may be wrong there, but in saying this she asserts her lengthy studies and vast knowledge of the man's life's work, their meanings--his meanings--and the man's life in general. She has spent most of her relatively short life at this point being such a fan of Dante and his writing that you could say in part she dedicated her life to him, as she died at the young age of 48 from cancer.

The following are just a few of the chapter titles you may be interested in:

-The Wood, and the Apparition of Virgil
-Dante's Pilgrimage Through Hell
-The Garden of Eden, and the Descent of Beatrice
-The Paradise

Additionally, here is a quote from the "prefatory":

"Thus two Elements, Earth and Water, hemispherically divided, constitute the Sphere which forms the innermost and immovable kernel of the Dantesque Universe. It is enveloped by the Sphere of Air, subject to the variations of heat and cold, rain and drought, wind and tempest, and reaching up to that particular point of the Western Mountain where Ante-Purgatory ends, and the Gate of S. Peter admits holy but still imperfect souls to Purgatory proper, which being situated within the Sphere of Fire or Aether, is secure from atmospheric change."

You see how she guides you through Dante's Universe in a readable and understandable way? Though this is an entirely scholarly work, I feel I would not understand Inferno, or Dante and his view of the Universe and Hell and all that exists in and outside of our lives and deaths, without it. Maria Francesca Rossetti knew her stuff it seems, and this is a great guide to the mind of Dante and his mysterious meanings in specifically his Inferno, but which apply to the great body of his work in general. If you have trouble understanding Paradise Lost by Milton, but are still captivated by it and want to, then this book is for you. It is the same sort of poem in some senses, invites but defies careful examination and ultimate understanding, and without people like Maria we would be much less informed as to how to read these immortal words and the stories they tell.

I can't better describe to you the map of Dante's "Universe" included as a foldout in this piece, as much as I can't get across just how scholarly yet accessibly and fascinating this work is, in any other way than I've already done. I just hope you know that to buy this book is to buy a piece of history, a true piece of history as it is a beautiful edition and in great shape, showing what an artwork it was back then to publish a book in the realm of old times that we are so far away from now, with embellishments equal to the feeling you get when you read Rossetti's voice.

I hope you'll buy this and see for yourself. :)

And here's the straight information you may be looking for:

-Full title: A Shadow of Dante, Being an Essay Towards Studying Himself, His World and His Pilgrimage
-Author: Maria Francesca Rossetti
-Format: Hardcover, special second edition with new design, gilt title and spine, gold cover with black inked illustrations, inside wax sheet preserved to protect title page from frontispiece, 2 foldouts showing "The Universe" and "The Rose of the Blessed"
-Condition: The binding needs to be handled carefully as any older book would need, but no pages are falling out and the book is intact, the cover beautiful and unmarked, and only age showing on the browning color of the pages and the slight rough edges on the corners of the covers. Otherwise it is in near perfect condition!
-Publisher: Roberts Brothers
-Copyright: 1872 University Press John Wilson & Son, Boston
-Date published: 1897
-Provenance: This book is signed by a "Fredda S. Julien" but undated, so all I know is that at some point this woman owned this book before I did. I found this book in the classics section of a thrift bookshop where books like this were going for decent prices, and I fell in love with the cover detail. It's just beautiful, and the foldouts you can see in the pictures are amazing and just add to the wonder of the book.
-Pricing: I priced the book this way because I could not find this copy anywhere else, though there are other copies with different descriptions of different colors and details (but with no pictures to back this up) so I was at a crossroads deciding the worth of this book. However, because it stands alone at the moment in its design and being a special second edition, it is valuable, and comparable to the other prices of some of her other popular antique works. The fact this book is from the 1800s also factored into my decision as it is preserved incredibly well for that amount of time having passed.
There is no other book like this one.

Really, I can't find it! Any other copy is different from this one--I cannot find this beautiful golden one anywhere, so it truly is alone and unique. There are archived, digital versions of it available, but of course you should buy this one so you can own it, own the physical first edition masterpiece that this is, such a beautiful golden work engraved in ink flowers and curved-line patterns you could get lost in. There is no way a digital version can do the same as the physical version when it comes to unfolding and holding out the fold-out pieces included here, illustrations and diagrams that help describe visually what Rossetti is talking about, and therefor what Dante was talking about. There is no way to replicate that online, and the feeling of doing it with your hands, book in lap, lifting the folded paper up like a slinky (so high! so many folds and so long a piece of paper, some of these!) and holding it out to examine it like some old, vintage, delicate map...it's amazing, really, and one of the reasons this book is so special to read and own and have up on your shelf.

If you are interested at all in Dante Alighieri, the legendary Italian poet of the middle ages, or literature during that time period, Dante's famous Inferno or other works, then this book is for you.

Maria Francesca Rossetti, I should note, is the author, and brother was also famous as an artist at the time of her writing, and also named Dante, which can get confusing and is not mentioned too much in this book aside from the fact Dante Gabriel (Rossetti) designed part of the imagery including the frontispiece which includes a portrait of a young Dante Alighieri and the older Dante's death-mask.

The Dante we are talking about here is the one Maria Francesca Rossetti describes in such a beautiful literary way, right in the first few lines, as "a name unlimited in place and period. Not Italy, but the Universe, is his birthplace; not the fourteenth century, but all Time, is is epcoh." She is kind of right, it is kind of true -- Dante has a place carved in history that outshines the other Dante's, but more than that it outshines so many others'. He alone could have created the period of "Italian poetry" for which he is known as a founder of, when most "high poetry" works were written only in Latin and for exclusively highly educated audiences who could read such language, or written in more formal Italian that did not appeal to or make sense to larger audiences. Dante changed this and wrote for wider audiences, and in this he started a trend, and became shortly known as "the Father of the Italian Language." His talents exceed so far beyond so many writers of all of time, as Rossetti makes very, very clear, that he is still a legend today, and his works are still vigorously studied and appreciated just as those of Shakespeare and Homer.

If it were 1897, Maria Francesca's book A Shadow of Dante would be the one text classrooms would be working on to study Dante, as it is written so refreshingly honestly and engagingly, bringing up questions you didn't even know you had about Dante and his works and their meanings, and challenging the long-held traditional views of Dante that were held at that time as well. You can interpret the man's works in so many ways, and Rossetti was convinced her interpretations were right. This shows in the text, and whether you agree with her or not, that is for you to determine by reading it. Still, it doesn't read as biased or slant -- just passionate. It is clear this woman loved Dante and his works, and that is what makes it such an important book to keep in your collection and survive through the ages. No current Dante scholarship can touch this work, in my opinion, on a physical and historical level in the same way. They just can't. The book was even described by the famed James Russell Lowell as "by far the best comment ever appeared in English." Think about that for a moment. Then think about owning that, holding it in your hands, in this beautiful copy.

Kind of makes you shiver, right?

The book goes well beyond just the popular works and facts of Dante's life, though it treats his Divine Comedy in quotes, and focuses very much on "Inferno" and its meanings via the life of Dante and close text examination. Maria was, at heart, a teacher, it seems. In the "Prefatory and Introductory" Rossetti herself writes, rather hostilely, that "few have gone beyond the Inferno; nay, most have stopped short at two passages of the Inferno." She may be wrong there, but in saying this she asserts her lengthy studies and vast knowledge of the man's life's work, their meanings--his meanings--and the man's life in general. She has spent most of her relatively short life at this point being such a fan of Dante and his writing that you could say in part she dedicated her life to him, as she died at the young age of 48 from cancer.

The following are just a few of the chapter titles you may be interested in:

-The Wood, and the Apparition of Virgil
-Dante's Pilgrimage Through Hell
-The Garden of Eden, and the Descent of Beatrice
-The Paradise

Additionally, here is a quote from the "prefatory":

"Thus two Elements, Earth and Water, hemispherically divided, constitute the Sphere which forms the innermost and immovable kernel of the Dantesque Universe. It is enveloped by the Sphere of Air, subject to the variations of heat and cold, rain and drought, wind and tempest, and reaching up to that particular point of the Western Mountain where Ante-Purgatory ends, and the Gate of S. Peter admits holy but still imperfect souls to Purgatory proper, which being situated within the Sphere of Fire or Aether, is secure from atmospheric change."

You see how she guides you through Dante's Universe in a readable and understandable way? Though this is an entirely scholarly work, I feel I would not understand Inferno, or Dante and his view of the Universe and Hell and all that exists in and outside of our lives and deaths, without it. Maria Francesca Rossetti knew her stuff it seems, and this is a great guide to the mind of Dante and his mysterious meanings in specifically his Inferno, but which apply to the great body of his work in general. If you have trouble understanding Paradise Lost by Milton, but are still captivated by it and want to, then this book is for you. It is the same sort of poem in some senses, invites but defies careful examination and ultimate understanding, and without people like Maria we would be much less informed as to how to read these immortal words and the stories they tell.

I can't better describe to you the map of Dante's "Universe" included as a foldout in this piece, as much as I can't get across just how scholarly yet accessibly and fascinating this work is, in any other way than I've already done. I just hope you know that to buy this book is to buy a piece of history, a true piece of history as it is a beautiful edition and in great shape, showing what an artwork it was back then to publish a book in the realm of old times that we are so far away from now, with embellishments equal to the feeling you get when you read Rossetti's voice.

I hope you'll buy this and see for yourself. :)

And here's the straight information you may be looking for:

-Full title: A Shadow of Dante, Being an Essay Towards Studying Himself, His World and His Pilgrimage
-Author: Maria Francesca Rossetti
-Format: Hardcover, special second edition with new design, gilt title and spine, gold cover with black inked illustrations, inside wax sheet preserved to protect title page from frontispiece, 2 foldouts showing "The Universe" and "The Rose of the Blessed"
-Condition: The binding needs to be handled carefully as any older book would need, but no pages are falling out and the book is intact, the cover beautiful and unmarked, and only age showing on the browning color of the pages and the slight rough edges on the corners of the covers. Otherwise it is in near perfect condition!
-Publisher: Roberts Brothers
-Copyright: 1872 University Press John Wilson & Son, Boston
-Date published: 1897
-Provenance: This book is signed by a "Fredda S. Julien" but undated, so all I know is that at some point this woman owned this book before I did. I found this book in the classics section of a thrift bookshop where books like this were going for decent prices, and I fell in love with the cover detail. It's just beautiful, and the foldouts you can see in the pictures are amazing and just add to the wonder of the book.
-Pricing: I priced the book this way because I could not find this copy anywhere else, though there are other copies with different descriptions of different colors and details (but with no pictures to back this up) so I was at a crossroads deciding the worth of this book. However, because it stands alone at the moment in its design and being a special second edition, it is valuable, and comparable to the other prices of some of her other popular antique works. The fact this book is from the 1800s also factored into my decision as it is preserved incredibly well for that amount of time having passed.

Reviews

5 out of 5 stars
(62)

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FAQs

Absolutely! I'm willing to do anything to get this book to you, but I will not write on it. If it is not in the condition you want, I know preservation techniques and will certainly oblige as best I can. You just need to let me know.
I will wrap the book any way you want. It is special and so are you, you deserve it! I will also write cards, include photographs, anything you'd like that would make this transaction more, well, you.
I won't tell you how to care for your book, but as to how they are cared for now, they are housed in two places -- some are wrapped in plastic in my main room in the part of the house that used to be a quaint B&B, lined on lovely old wooden bookshelves; others are stacked in piles or leaning on cool, creative and different bookends all round the room, and all are given care, attention, and kept away from my dog :)

Others sit in my library, in built-in authentic 1800s wooden and glass-door library shelves that line the walls in a secluded room in a historic home on the shore. With vintage, warm lamplights over the tiny marble fireplace, the library's windows catch plenty of sunlight--the books are in good homes and will arrive undamaged.
If the book comes later than expected this does not mean it was sent late. Every book is sent within 1-3 business days, unless one of the days is a Sunday, then it could be an extra day. This applies to International orders as well, but they might take longer to get to you than in-country orders. If there is a problem, please bring it up with UPS or see Etsy's policies.
I am more than willing to hunt down a specific book for you. This can take time, however, and would be a matter of personal back-and-forth on the site so you would have to keep in contact. There is no guarantee. I'm good at finding things however, and if I cannot find it to sell to you myself I will direct you to where I can find it online, if I can.

Important to note, however, that I may have it in my holdings already so it ALWAYS helps to check in with me. Listings come up continually, and it may just be waiting here to get processed and put up.
Contact me directly via the site and I will do my absolute best to help correct it. There should be no problems.
Always willing to make new friends and take on new jobs or opportunities -- this business does not stop me from working a full or part time job, and I am currently looking, so please contact me! Dempseylynch@gmail.com. I am definitely interested in talking with you and love meeting new people (especially book lovers of course).
Sure! Although the books are priced the way they are and are worth that amount based on a lot of factors (condition compared to others available online, if there are any available online or if it is the only one, age and whether it is signed or special in some way, etc.) I am always willing to hear you out as to why you think the books price is off, and work with you as best I can. I cannot guarantee the price will change, that is bad for my business, but I will listen to you. Don't be afraid to reach out. The worst that can happen is I will say no.

I put the reasons behind my pricing method for each item at the end of the listing so check that out if you're curious too :)

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