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    Percy Bysshe Shelley: The Cenci: A Tragedy in Five Acts. (London: C and J Ollier, 1821), printed by C.H. Reynell, second edition, 103 pages, paper wrappers, 8vo (5.5" x 8.75"), clear glassine cover. Housed in a black cloth solandar box with a black and gilt leather title plate on the spine. The book is good, with some wrinkling to the edges, mild age-toning, and light foxing. The slipcase shows mild finger print soiling. The following background is from Betty T. Bennett's Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley An Introduction: The Cenci, a story of the 16th-century Cenci family depicts the vicious cruelty of Count Francesco Cenci, whose wealth protected him from punishment for murdering his own sons and raping Beatrice, his daughter. After the rape, Beatrice conspired with other family members to murder him. Victims first of Cenci's unlimited power, then of the Church's, Beatrice and her co-conspirators were caught and executed. The Shelleys collaborated on this project in several ways. Mary Shelley translated into English "Relazione della morte della famiglia Cenci sequita in Roma il di II Maggio 1599," the original Italian manuscript from which P. B. Shelley worked, for intended publication with P. B. Shelley's tragedy.

    Percy began to dramatize The Cenci following the death of their one-year-old daughter Clara to dysentery in September 1818. In June of the following year, their three-year-old son William died of malaria. Both Shelleys deeply mourned their loss, but the intensity of Mary's feelings caused her to distance herself from Percy. During this period of estrangement, the Shelleys' most harmonious communication appears to have been through their writing. This is the only work that Percy discussed with Mary part by part as he wrote it. From the Betty Bennett Collection.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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