1991, 1st edition; Alfred A. Knopf publishers, New York; hardbound in maroon red boards with silver lettering and decor on spine and front cover; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good.
Antonietta is a novel written by American Pulitzer-Prize winning author John Hersey. Published in 1991, the novel traces the history of the titular violin, a fictitious creation of Antonio Stradivari, recounting its usage under multiple owners interspersed with what Hersey describes as "intermezzi", interludes of fact. Hersey's 25th novel, it was the last he released before his death.
As a novel following the history of an object, it is in the style of a popular 18th century genre termed "novel of circulation". The novel covers the history of the violin Antonietta from its creation by Antonio Stradivari in 1699. Beginning with an overview of the creation of the violin, named in honor of Stradivari's second wife, the novel follows the violin through multiple owners, focusing on its influence of their work and those around them. Among the owners of the violin featured in the novel are Mozart, who possessed the violin in the late 18th century and composed a sonata for it; Pierre Baillot, who describes its impact on the composition of Berlioz; Pavel Federovsky, who played in trio with Stravinsky; Spenser, a modern businessman in Martha's Vineyard; and Hersey himself, who claimed to have purchased the violin with advance money for the novel itself. In each section, the writer adopts a writing style to mirror the personality and perspective of the owner.