Stock, Women & Writing
L'Americana Ramminga, cioè Memorie di Donna Innez di Quebrada. Scritte da lei stessa, ed ora pubblicate da M. G. di S., sua confidente Amica. Tomo Primo [-Secondo].
ABDUCTED BY PIRATES IN CHILE, REUNITED WITH HER HUSBAND IN BOSTON: THE ADVENTURES OF DOÑA INNEZ DE QUEBRADA. 8vos., 2 vols in 1. IV pp, 132 pp; IV pp, 108 pp. Bound in contemporary English quarter calf over marbled boards, with gilt title and emblems on spine. Ownership inscription of [Lady] Diana Hamlyn William [1766-1849] on title-page. Joints a little cracked but holding firmly; otherwise an excellent copy. Very rare second Venetian edition (first, 1763) of this Italian novel recounting the adventures of a female Chilean protagonist kidnapped by buccaneers. Chiari scholar Marco Catucci calls this “il primo romanzo italiano con un orizzonte panamericano”, summarizing it as “un romanzo di avventure piratesche e amorose che si rivela, nell'apparente supina imitazione degli stereotipi, pieno di sorprese”. The novel opens with Doña Innez’s abduction from the Chilean port city of Valparaiso; via a string of North and South American cities including the remote Juan Fernandez Islands, Havana, Veracruz, Mexico City, and the mines of Oaxaca, she ends up reuniting with her husband in Boston, New England. “Pietro Chiari, the ‘incurable scribbler,’ could not resist the charm of the New World, as seen in his three novels with an American theme… The protagonists are American heroines who, following Prévost and Defoe’s models, relate their adventurous and involved vicissitudes in the first preson. Among Chiari’s American cultural sources… are Lafitau’s works, and Burke’s Account of the European Settlements in America… These readings, and probably others as well, gave this prolific writer the idea to develop a comparison between the two worlds, and to stress the inadequacies of contemporary life while assessing the qualities of primitive life.” (Stefania Buccini, “Pietro Chiari’s Primitivism”, p. 63). Modern re-assessments have cast doubt on the attribution of L’Americana Ramminga to Pietro Chiari – who had penned a number of similar novels, but whose heroines are rarely so ‘eccentric’. Like the first edition, the present work claims on the title-page to have been composed by a close female friend of Doña Innez herself. OCLC shows 4 US holdings of the first edition (Venice, 1763): the Newberry, Harvard, Princeton and Bryn Mawr. A pirated Neapolitan edition of 1764 is held at the JCB and Harvard only; and the present edition is unrecorded in US libraries. * Sabin 67064 (1763 edition); not in BLC; cf Stefania Buccini, Americas in Italian Literature and Culture, 1700-1825 (2010); Mario Catucci, "L'americana raminga", Sincronie, no. 16, (2004), and Alessio Giannanti, “L’America di Pietro Chiari. Tra attribuzioni apocrife e riflessioni filosofiche” (2010).