COPY NO. 1
T. Fisher Unwin … London … 1890.
8vo (188 × 110 mm), pp. , 186, ; with frontispiece illustration by Joseph Pennell; printed on Japanese vellum; uncut in the original publisher’s Japanese vellum boards, slightly skewed, ‘Cameo Series’ roundel to upper board, publisher’s device to the lower, spine lettered gilt; light soiling to the edges and spine somewhat darkened, but an attractive copy; signed by the publisher.
First British edition (originally published Boston, 1885) of this translation of Mirèio
(1859), the long narrative poem by Nobel Prize-winning Provençal poet, Frédéric Mistral (1830–1914), and generally considered his masterpiece. ‘This Edition consists of Thirty Copies of which this is No. [in ms.
The translator Harriet Waters Preston (1836–1911) here rewrites her preface, speaking of the success of her translation and explaining her affection for the little-known Mistralian norm, a linguistic variant within the Occitan language which aims to make Occitan orthography more logical, relying on a mixture of its own traditional as well as French spelling conventions.
The frontispiece illustration is typical of American illustrator Joseph Pennell who was most well-known for his spartan greyscale topographies. Obviously familiar with southern France, he and his wife produced Play in Provence (1892) which featured further illustrations of La Crau, a landscape which is integral to Mistral’s poem.