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Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien.

Basel: Schweighauser Verlag, 1860 Stock Code: 120920
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An excellent contemporary association copy from the library of Otto Wesendonck

First edition, from the library of Otto Wesendonck, husband of Mathilde Wesendonck and friend of Wagner.

Otto Wesendonck's (1815-1896) success as a silk merchant made him a generous patron of the arts and allowed him to provided significant financial support to one of his favourite composers, Richard Wagner, throughout the 1850s. For a period of time the Wagners lived in a villa on the Wesendonck's estate in Zurich, and Otto would also eventually buy the copyright for the four Ring operas for 24,000 francs. Wagner became infatuated with Wesendonck's wife, the poet Agnes Mathilde Luckemeyer (1828-1902). She exerted considerable influence over his work and provided the words to the Wesendonck Lieder song cycle. Their passionate relationship - whether platonic or otherwise - came to an end in 1858 when Minna Wagner accused them of adultery, after which Wagner fled to Paris.

This milestone in cultural history was written by Burckhardt (1818-1897) between 1855 and 1858. While the author's definition and historical description of the Renaissance have been rightfully questioned, "no criticism can detract from the powerful spell which Burckhardt's book has exercised upon such widely different writers as Ruskin, Nietzsche and Gobineau, as well as upon innumerable lovers of the most magnificent period of European history" (PMM).

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Octavo. Original purple cloth, spine lettered and ruled in gilt, boards blocked in blind, brown patterned endpapers.


Engraved bookplate of Otto Wesendonck to front pastedown and his contemporary ownership inscription to the front free endpaper. Basel postage stamp laid in.


Extremities lightly rubbed and some occasional foxing, otherwise a very good copy.


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