SCHARTEN-ANTINK, C. & M. [Carel & Margo] De Nar uit de Maremmen deel I Massano, deel II Florence. Maatschappij voor Goede en Goed-Koope Lectuur - Amsterdam- Sloterdijk. 1928.
MUSSOLINI PRESENTATION COPY FROM AUTHORS. Two vols. of three (185 x 120 mm). Vol. I, 313 p; Vol. II 285 p + ads. Green Art Deco fly leaves. Some browning to initial pages, but interior clean. Bound in publisher’s red and green clothe with gilt lettering for title, authors, and monograph cryptogram. Overall VERY GOOD.
These two volumes stand as intimate witness to the disturbing creep of fascism across Europe in the late 1920s and the twin impulses of sycophantism and deluded belief in the propaganda of a new Europe after the wreckage of WWI.
Each of the two present volumes begins with an inscription by the Dutch husband-and-wife author(s) in Italian, rendering their names in to an italicised version of Carel and Margo. The authors’ gifted their first volume to Mussolini in February of 1928, with words that do not veil their admiration of the fascist regime:
To the creator of the new Italy, this novel on the birth of fascism, they [the authors] offer their sincere admiration. Carlo Scharten, Margherita Scharten-Antink. Rome 27 February, 1928.
Later in the year, in December, Carel presented the second volume to Mussolini with the mysterious inscription seemingly quoting two passages:
To the great “mystic lover of beautiful Italy”, that in the same time, is the realiser of his “beloved passion”. Carlo Scharten. Rome, 21/12 1928. [Dec. 21]
In the same year, Carel and Margo competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam for the Netherlands in the Arts Competitions, under the category of Literature, Epic Works. They took the Bronze medal.
The couple eventually relocated to Florence where they lived out their lives.