SAPPHO - IMPERIALE, Giovanni Vincenzo.

La Faoniade: inni ed odi

tradotti dal testo greco [or rather composed] in metro italiano da S[osare] I[tomeio] P[astore] A[rcade, i.e. G. V. Imperiale].

Crisopoli [Parma]: Co'caratteri Bodoniani, 1792 Stock Code: 131990
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A characteristic "Napoleonic" imitation of Sappho

First edition printed with the types of Bodoni (first published in two parts at Naples in 1780-86), a beautifully produced book here in very attractive contemporary Italian morocco.

"A Neapolitan general, Vicenzo Imperiale... presents La Faoniade: Inni ed odi di Saffo as a translation of a previously unknown work by Sappho, newly discovered in true Ossianic fashion by 'the famous Russian scholar Ossur,' who was visiting Cape Leukas and found some papyri in a stone box When Imperiale presents what he claims to be 'the only complete work we have of Saffo' (xv), he is attempting to replace the Sappho corpus with a 'faoniade', an epic poem to the glories of Aphrodite's fickle boatman. The Faoniade is actually a collection of poems, all of them about Sappho's love for Phaon, 'hymns' addressed less frequently to the gods than to the physical beauty of the perfect young male" (Joan DeJean, Fictions of Sappho, 1546-1937, University of Chicago Press, 1989).

This hero-worship was characteristic of the "Napoleonic" fictions of Sappho that multiplied at this time, transferring power from Sappho to Phaon, or some other man. In later editions, Imperiale's imitation was often paired with Alessandro Verri's Avventure di Saffo poetessa di Mitilene (1780).

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Small octavo (138 x 98 mm). Contemporary Italian brown morocco, spine gilt in compartments, sides bordered in gilt with Greek key and flower head rolls, decorative tools at inside corners, marbled endpapers, gilt edges.


A little rubbing, endpapers stuck down, some spotting, a very good copy.


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