THE VIPER OF MILAN: A ROMANCE OF LOMBARDY. London: Alston Rivers, Ltd., 1906. Octavo, pp. [i-vii] viii 1-348 [349-352: ads], title page printed in red and black, original pictorial green cloth, front panel stamped in red and black, spine panel stamped in gold. First edition. Bowen's first novel, written when she was 16, but not published until a few years later. A historical romance set in late fourteenth century Italy about Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, and his wars against the free towns of Northern Italy. Bowen's historical romances "were strong in plot and spectacle, the best-known being THE VIPER OF MILAN (1906) ... The narrative is wholeheartedly Gothic, with treacherous acts involving secret passages and poisoned gauntlets." - Kemp, Mitchell and Trotter, Edwardian Fiction, pp. 41; 400-01. In his introduction to the 1963 Penguin reprint, Graham Greene wrote that he read it aged 14 and "It was as if I had been supplied once and for all with a subject ... Human nature is not black and white but black and grey. I read all that in THE VIPER OF MILAN and I looked around and I saw that it was so ... I think it was Miss Bowen's apparent zest that made me want to write. One could not read her without believing that to write was to live and to enjoy." Nield, A Guide to the Best Historical Novels and Tales (4th edition), p. 278. Cloth rubbed at spine ends, corner tips and along outer joints, slight spine lean, first two preliminary leaves and last leaf of advertisements foxed, a very good copy with clean, bright binding. (#170159).
No statement of printing.