Milan: Franco Maria Ricci Editore, 1981. 1st Edition. 2 vols., folio, publisher's black silk cloth, spines and upper boards gilt, pictorial labels to upper boards, patterned endpapers. Printed on handmade Fabiano paper. Housed in original black-stamped cloth clamshell boxes.
Publisher's presentation copy of this delightfully bizarre artists' book, conceived as a facsimile illuminated manuscript, the universal history of a surreal, non-existent world, by Italian architect and designer Luigi Serafini. Illustrated with thousands of color pencil drawings, and text in an invented asemic script. "It is obvious that the Codex Seraphinianus belongs to the same rich family as Pliny's Naturalis Historia, the De Rerum Natura of Lucretius, the Speculum Maius of Vincent of Beauvais, and including the Encyclopédie of Diderot and D'Alembert....In observing its divisions, the reader will perhaps have the feeling of listening to Knowledge's song without words" (from the publisher's letter, laid in). Number 1458 (from an edition of 4000), signed by the artist on the colophon, and additionally inscribed by the publisher: "A Rosalinde e Bill/teneramente con tanto affetto/Franco Ricci/11 Aprile 1983/New York." Roslyn Targ was a literary agent who specialized in foreign rights (among her clients were Italo Calvino, Simone de Beauvoir, and Chester Himes); her husband William was a noted editor and bibliophile, whose great claim to fame was the acquisition of Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather for G.P. Putnam's Sons. Italian publisher Ricci founded the art magazine FMR, and published a series of limited edition art books, of which the Codex is the most celebrated. Fine. Item #481