In this collection of nine eerie stories, Iginio Ugo Tarchetti switches effortlessly between the macabre and the breezily comical. Set in nineteenth-century Italy, his characters court spirits and blend in with the undead: passionate romances filled with jealousy and devotion are fueled by magic elixirs. Time becomes fluid as characters travel between centuries, chasing affairs that never quite prosper. First published by Mercury House in 1992.
Iginio Ugo Tarchetti was born in San Salvatore Monferrato in Piemonte, in 1839. After his military life was cut short due to illness (or for writing an antimilitarist novel, depending on who’s telling the story), he moved to Milan and became involved with the ‘scapigliatura’, literally meaning ‘dishevelled’, an artistic movement that rebelled against traditional values and the Italian artistic and literary canon at that time. He published articles in several newspapers. Considered the first Italian writer to experiment with the Gothic style, Tarchetti is often compared to Edgar Allan Poe. He died at the age of 29 from tuberculosis.
About the Translator: Lawrence Venuti is a translation theorist and historian. He translates from Italian, French, and Catalan. His translation projects have won awards and grants from the PEN American Center, the Italian government, the NEA, and the NEH. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his translation of Giovanni Pascoli’s poetry and prose and his translation of Ernest Farrés’s Edward Hopper: Poems won the Robert Fagles Translation Prize. In 2018 his translation of J.V. Foix’s Daybook 1918: Early Fragments won the Global Humanities Translation Prize.