New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977. 1st US Edition. Large octavo, publisher's black cloth, spine gilt, upper board blindstamped, original printed dust jacket.
"How strange and unnatural destiny is." First US edition of Italian author Elsa Morante’s best known and most provocative work. Met with a mixed critical reception yet major commercial success (it sold over 800,000 copies in its first year), the multilayered novel largely revolves around the abject existence of a half-Jewish woman, Ida, both during and in the immediate aftermath of WWII. The novel’s moral ambiguity and depiction of socio-political norms, namely Mussolini’s Race Laws, was criticized by left-wing intellectuals (including Pasolini, who had been a lifelong friend of Morante) for being overly pessimistic about communist ideology. The original title, "La Storia," means both "history" and "the story" in Italian, with this essential ambiguity perhaps somewhat lost with the English translation. Translated from the Italian by William Weaver. Originally published in Italy in 1974. Price-clipped dust jacket nicked at base of spine. Near fine. Item #4990