Sicily - Peirre SebilleauLondon: Kaye & Ward, 1968, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Good+ Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper faded at the spine and onto the margins of the panels. Top edge of the dust wrapper a little rubbed. Text complete, clean and tight but a little age-tanned.
Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Colour Plates; Maps ; Colour frontispiece;
From the cover: “The unique geographical situation of Sicily, Italy’s “boot", so close to North Africa and to Greece, has for nearly 4,000 years made it a valuable prize for successive invaders — Carthaginians and Greeks, Romans and Byzantines, Arabs and Normans, Germans, French, Spanish and British — and all the occupying powers have left their mark on this island so full of contrasts. Splendid palaces and miserable hovels; glorious views, Etna periodically in eruption, extensive cultivation, barren plains over which the sirocco blows; the Sicily loved by Pindar and Aeschylus and her native poet, Theocritus; of beautiful Greek theatres and Doric temples, fine cathedrals; the overpopulated Sicily of the Mafia, of massive ignorance and poverty and darkness, on to which Danilo Dolci has lately flashed his searing torch: all these different aspects make their appearance in Pierre Sebilleau’s notable addition to the Beaux Pays series.
However, although he does not deny the darker side, Sebilleau is too great a lover of the island, and of the complex, reserved Sicilian character, not to come down heavily on the side of the Earthly Paradise, with its superb climate, its beaches and gardens, its wonderful works of art and architecture. This is what comes across as he takes the reader on a brisk but thorough tour, landing at Palermo, the capital, round the west coast, down to the toe and Syracuse, into the interior, and back, by way of Catania and Etna, Messina and along the north coast for a more leisurely look at Palermo, before departing with the knowledge that “you love Sicily, the only and best conclusion to your tour you can reach”. Though keeping the freshness of personal experience, likes and dislikes, Sebilleau caters for all travellers’ tastes, carries lightly his considerable erudition, and distils his own enthusiasm for the “Paradise on earth”. Altogether it is a worthy text to complement the magnificent illustrations.”