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Lot 0334
FIRST EDITION OF MONTI'S POEM
WITH THE CELEBRATION OF NAPOLEON


MONTI, VINCENZO. Il Bardo della Selva Nera. Poema epico-lirico. Parma, Coi Tipi Bodoniani, MDCCCVI [Parma: Bodoni, 1806].

4to, smart full paper binding with triple fillet frame printed in gold to covers, small golden flowers to the corner of each board, spine divided in compartments by gilt fillet decorations, paper laber to second compartment with black printed letterings, ff. [3], pp. VIII, f. [1], pp. 100, ff. [2, the last blank].

FIRST POCKET EDITION OF THIS EPIC POEM IN PRAISE OF NAPOLEON, published in the same year in Parma, Brescia and Florence.

Il Bardo della Selva Nera celebrates Napoleon Bonaparte through the words of a soldier of his, that had survived to the Austerlitz's battle. The work starts describing the steps of the German Bard Ullino throughout the forest, towards the sounds of a combat. He is followed by his young daughter Malvina, carrying his harp. After singing a song and predicting the victory of the French army against the Austrian and Russian coalition, the Bard and Malvina reach the battlefield in the falling night, where they found a young soldier seriously wounded and they carry him to their hug. When the man, called Terigi, recovers, he tells them about his Italian origins and his decision to follow the greatest commander of their time, Napoleon, the one that deserved to be followed in search of glory. Asked by the Bard for more details about his life and adventures, Terigi describes the Italian campaign and the Aegyptian expedition, praising Napoleon highly as an invincible, but magnanimous conqueror, whose faith will lead him to dominate whole Europe. The poem, after some mentioning to a love feeling spreading between Terigi and Malvina, ends with the recount of the knight coming back to Italy to meet his mother and founding his village looted by the Austrians and the woman dead.

This final part, blaming the Austrian soldiers for an act of cruelty and oppression towards the Italian people, was considered and released as a patriotic text during the 1830 by the Italian intellectuals exiled in Switzerland, that were planning the necessary actions for the liberation of Northern Italy from the Austrian domination. In this way, they rehabilitated the name of VINCENZO MONTI, which had been blamed by personalities like Ugo Foscolo and Giacomo Leopardi for his celebration of the Austrian oppressors after Napoleon's final defeat.

The work is preceded by the dedication Alla Maestà  Imperiale e Reale di Napoleone il Grande Imperator de' Francesi e Re d'Italia and by a letter, once again addressed to Napoleon, in which the greatness and the magnanimity of the Emperor towards the subjected people are commended as something worthy of the praises of the Bards, as in the medieval tradition.

The text of the Bardo ought to contain another two cantos, where Terigi's tale should come to an end. In spite of this, just the first six parts of the poem were published, and rest did not appear ever after.

VINCENZO MONTI (1754-1828) was an Italian historian and writer, famous for his acclaimed translations, the most omportant being that of Homer's Ilias. Monti was born at Alfonsine, Ravenna, the son of Fedele and Domenica Maria Mazzari, landowners. He was educated at the seminar in Faenza and at the University of Ferrara, where he studied medicine and jurisprudence. In 1775 he was admitted to membership of the Arcadia Academy and the next year his first book was published: Ezechiello's vision. In 1778 Monti moves to Rome, there invited by cardinal, and papal legate in Ferrara, Scipione Borghese. In 1797 he leaves Rome and, after visiting Bologna and Venice, finally settles in Milan, forsaking his former opposition to the French Revolution (expressed in the Bassvilliana) and becoming a supporter of the newborn Cisalpine Republic. In 1799, he is forced to leave the town when the French are defeated, but it takes him only two years to come back, following the Battle of Marengo (1800). While in Paris, Monti devotes more and more of his time to translations from French and Latin, which today are considered to be his best works: he publishes La Pucelle d'Orleans by Voltaire, soon to be followed by the Satires by Persio and the Iliade by Homer. After the fall of Napoleon in 1815, Monti tries to win back the Austrian regime with his last poems Il mistico omaggio and Il ritorno di Astrea, before committing to the development of Italian linguistics during his last years.

Monti was an enthustiast promoter of the changements that Napoleon brought about in Italy. Monti had been so in favour with idea of being under the rule of the Corsican B-Continental, that soon after the proclamation of the Cisalpine Republic in 1797, he moved from Rome to Milan in order to collaborate with the French administration. After a short period spent in Paris, due to the Austrian return to Northern Italy, he came back to his homeland in Napoleon's train in 1801 and, in 1805, when the B-Continental was declared King of Italy, he became the official historian and writer of the French court there. In such a capacity, Monti composed many poems praising Bonaparte and his politics, representing him as a new and better Charlemagne.

References: IT\ICCU\TO0E\005914.

Condition

A perfectly preserved and uncut copy.

Starting Bid

€500.00

Buyer's Premium

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[Napoleon, Bodoni] Monti, Bardo, 1806

Estimate €1,000 - €1,200
9d4h45m10s
€500
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via Enrico Toti 1
Verona, 37129
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