Armenian Exercises and Poetry.Venice: In the Island of S. Lazzaro, 1870 Stock Code: 125694
First edition of this scarce Byron item, produced at the Armenian monastery on the island of San Lazzaro in Venice and reproducing, with facing English and Armenian text, Byron's letters relating to his sojourn there in 1816, and his own translations of various ancient Armenian texts. Also included are several Byron poems (including "The Destruction of Sennacherib") with facing translations into Armenian, presumably by one of the more Romantically inclined of the monks. Byron, while in the throes of an affair with Marianna Segati (a married lady described by Venetian historian Rawdon Brown as "a demon of avarice and libidinousness"), found in San Lazzaro some quotidian respite from his nocturnal engagements. He wrote to his friend Moore: "By way of divertisement, I am studying daily, at an Armenian monastery, the Armenian language. I found that my mind wanted something craggy to break upon; and this - as the most difficult thing I could discover here for an amusement - I have chosen, to torture me into attention." One of the great Byron rarities is his Grammar in Armenian and English, which was printed on San Lazzaro in 1819. These Armenian Exercises were produced by the monks in memory of their most famous visitor, and snapped up by latter-day Grand Tourists. This copy has the contemporary illustrated bookplate of Rudolph Howard Krause (1858-1926), the son of a German missionary who settled in England and became managing director of Stewarts & Lloyds steelworks, noted (in his obituary) for its production of shells during the First World War. Evidently in younger days he visited Venice and the Armenian island of San Lazzaro.
Duodecimo. Original navy morocco backed purple cloth boards, titles gilt to spine, sides blind stamped with arabesque panelling, patterned endpapers, all edges gilt.
Leaf showing facsimile of Byron's signature in his English and Armenian hands.
Some loss to the leather at head and a little down the joints, extremities otherwise a little worn, cloth soiled, some minor stains and marks within, still a good copy of this rare survival.
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