London: MacMillan & Co., 1901. Item #04465
"The Eye of Italy"
Superbly Bound by W. Root & Son
ROOT & SON, binders. HEWLETT, Maurice. Earthwork out of Tuscany; being Impressions and Translations of Maurice Hewlett. London: MacMillan and Co., 1901.
Third edition revised. Octavo (6 11/16 x 4 1/2 inches; 170 x 114 mm.). xviii, 205, [1, blank] pp. Small ink inscription on front blank dated Nov. 14, 1936.
Bound ca. 1936 by Root & Son (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in). Full dark red crushed levant morocco, covers with double gilt border surrounding a panel of blind-stamped flowers with elaborate gilt floral corner-pieces. Spine with five raised bands, elaborately stamped and lettered in gilt and blind in compartments. Double gilt-ruled board edges, wide elaborate gilt and blind stamped turn-ins, green watered silk liners and end-leaves, all edges gilt. A spectacular and very fine example housed in the original fleece-lined red cloth slipcase.
"Polite reader, you who have travelled Italy, it will not be unknown to you that the humbler sort in that country have ever believed certain spots and recesses of their land - as wells, mountain-paths, farmsteads, groves of ilex or olive, quiet pine-woods, creeks or bays of the sea, and such like hidden ways - to be the chosen resort of familiar spirits, baleful or benificent, fate-ridden or amenable to prayer, half divine, wholly out of rule or ordering; which rustic deities and genii locorum, if it was not needful to propitiate, it was fascination to observe. It is believed of them in the hill-country round about Perugia and in the quieter parts of Tuscany, that they are still present, tolerated of God by reason of their origin (which is, indeed that of the very soil whose effluence they are), chastened, circumscribed and, as it were, combed or pared of evil desire and import…" (Advertisement to the first edition).
The London bindery of W. Root & Son consistently turned-out excellent work, both on fine bindings as here, and on trade bindings and sets. Packer lists the firm in business in Red Lion Square in 1899-1901, and the December 1942 issue of The Rotarian notes with regret that W. Root had been bombed out (uprooted?) of their premises on Paternaster Row during the 1941 Blitz.
Maurice Henry Hewlett (1861–1923), was an English historical novelist, poet and essayist. Earthwork out of Tuscany was his first travel work, originally published in 1895. Hewlett was parodied by Max Beerbohm in A Christmas Garland in the part titled "Fond Hearts Askew"