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132224comp 132224 132224_1 132224_2 132224_3
(DE BOSIS, Lauro, trans.; SOPHOCLES.)

Edipo Re. Traduzione. Sofocle.

Availability: In stock

Published: Roma Alberto Stock, Editore, 1924

Stock Code: 132224

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First edition, very scarce presentation copy of this first publication by Lauro de Bosis (1901-1931), the anti-fascist Italian poet and translator who was killed defying Mussolini. The inscription, to the first blank, reads: "A Guido Ruberti devoto ommagio di Lauro de Bosis, Roma 8.vii 1924". Ruberti (1885-1955) was an Italian theatre critic, an apt association for this debut work, which is scarce in itself and especially uncommon inscribed due to de Bosis's early death.
De Bosis was the son of the poet and translator Adolpho de Bosis (notable for translating Shelley's Prometheus Unbound into Italian), and in his short career published Italian translations from Ancient Greek (this Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, and Aeschulus's Prometheus Bound) and English (Fraser's Golden Bough and Wilder's Bridge of the San Luis Rey). He also corresponded with Joyce about executing an Italian translation of Ulysses but it was never pursued. He published one original work, the play Icaro, which won the Silver Medal in the literary competition of the 1928 Olympic Games. It was a work of Romantic mytho-politics in which the tyrant Minos bore obvious parallels to Mussolini, and the hero Icarus to de Bosis himself.
He was exiled for a period, but returned to Rome for a final act of resistance. On 3 October 1931, he took to the skies over Rome in a plane that he had bought for the purpose (christened "Pegasus"), and hurled thousands of antifascist leaflets down upon the city. Shot down by Mussolini's air force, de Bosis completed his first and final flight in true Icarian style, plunging in flames into the Tyrrhenian Sea. On the night before this fatal flight, however, de Bosis had written a letter, a defiant suicide note addressed simultaneous to his family, to King Vittorio Emmanuele, to Mussolini, to people of Rome, and to posterity, entitled "L'Histoire de ma Mort". On the way to the aviation field in the morning, he had posted this letter to a journalist friend in Belgium with the instruction that it be published in all the newspapers of Europe still free from fascist censorship, which it was (as well as in the New York Times), bringing to the name of Lauro de Bosis a brief flare of world-wide fame for his daring act. The Oxford University Press published an English translation of Icaro in 1933, translated by American actress Ruth Draper who had been his lover. A contemporary review of this OUP publication praised de Bosis' "tragedy of Icarus, who gave his life that man should win the kingdom of the air, as the poet himself was to give his life for the freedom of thought and of the press".

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Octavo. Original wrappers, titles in black and red.


Tanning around spine and fore-edge, some other minor marks to wrappers, sound and generally in very good condition.


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