[London]: Not Published [Printed by I Botson and Palmer], 1833. First edition. Recent marbled wraps tied at spine. All edges gilt. Bookplate of J.O. Edwards to verso of front wrap. Ownership stamp of Lady Ulrica Thynne (d. 1916) to front endpaper. A Near Fine copy, with a bit of light scattered foxing throughout. Measuring 180 x 110mm and collating complete including half and full titles: , 63, [1, blank]. A scarce work in translation which was only distributed among friends and family, OCLC reports copies of Giustina at only 6 libraries. The present is the only example on the market.
A narrative poem in three cantos, Giustina is a romance set in Spain but clearly commenting on the hypocrisy of patriarchy and the English marriage economy. Driven by "that deep confiding trust which flows from the chaste Fondness only woman knows," Giustina chooses Alonzo as her mate. She is, after all, pure of heart and shaped by the advice that a woman should not be mercenary. The great tragedy for Giustina and Alonzo, however, is that economic concerns do enter into marriage. Despite returning Giustina's love, "He could not brook that she whose heart he won Should stoop to poverty--by love undone!" Alonzo, aware of Giustina's economic precarity if they wed -- cut off from by her father, dependent on his scant earnings -- is the realist. A long separation, unhappiness and ill health (linked to the realization that his line will end with Giustina's death) lead her father to agree to the couple's marriage and to allowing his daughter's dowry and inheritance. But alas -- upon the reunion Alonzo too has suffered such poor health that he survives only through their wedding day. The financially driven marriage system has created a young widow and ended the line of inheritance for her family, committing her instead to the care of her aging father.
Jackson 195.4. Bibliographic Catalogue of Privately Printed Books 445. (Item #4810)