5.06 Strenna 1869

Il Vesuvio: strenna per 1869, pubblicata a pro de’ danneggiati dall’eruzione, Naples 1869

Be 4015-4691 raro III

This small volume is part of the successful nineteenth-century publishing genre of the strenna (‘gift’): collections of various texts that were printed by publishers as the year-end festivities approached, so that they could be purchased as gifts. This publication, in particular, was intended to raise funds for the populations of the towns on the slopes of Vesuvius that had been damaged by lava from the volcano in November 1868. The initiative was promoted by the historian and man of letters Giuseppe Ceci, one of the founders and main promoters of the magazine Napoli Nobilissima. The topical framework for this strenna is provided by Giuseppe Rodini’s Cenno topografico (‘topographical account’) and Luigi Palmieri’s scientific report on the last eruption from the Vesuvius Observatory (pp. 5-11). The collection contains various texts in verse (unpublished works by Neapolitan authors, translations from foreign originals) and contributions in prose (research on subjects drawn from science, Neapolitan history and culture, short stories, short philosophical and moral essays). The Vesuvian theme is well represented, but it is not the only one: the title of the strenna, “Il Vesuvio”, sums up the reasons for the publication and functions rather as a commercial attraction for potential buyers. [ES]

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