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Blurb: Giuseppe "Pino" Orioli (1884–1942) was a Florentine bookseller best known for privately publishing the unexpurgated first edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover and for his long association with Norman Douglas.
One internet reviewer named Henry Cohen says: "I learned of this book from a review in the Saturday Review (Jan. 7, 1939). I decided to read the book because the review states that Orioli had "a cordial, intimate relationship" with D.H. Lawrence. In fact, the book devotes only three pages to his relationship with Lawrence (232-234), but they are revealing. Orioli published the first edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover.
I agree with the Saturday Review that the book "reveals a delightful personality at once striking, unassuming, and altogether engaging, a self-made man of many parts, one whose savoir faire and invincible good humor have enabled him to achieve a high place in his profession in the face of early poverty and fantastic vicissitudes." The book is not primarily about Orioli's adventures as a bookseller; he doesn't even become one until almost a third of the way through the book, and the rest of the book includes many anecdotes besides those relating to his book sales, which were of antiquarian books. He grew up in rural Italy and moved to London as a young man, and this book, which he wrote in English, shows that he became fluent in that language. He moved back to Italy to open his bookstore, but traveled back to London to acquire many of his books, which he then sold to Englishmen visiting Italy.
For the most part, the book is a delight, becoming tedious only near the end, when it turns into mainly a travelogue and quotes from Orioli's diaries. Orioli travels a lot, meets many people, and tells amusing anecdotes. He apparently never married, and never discusses the subject; his only relations with women seem to have been occasional visits to brothels. I highly recommend the book, although I do not expect it to stay with me; read it to enjoy it as you read it."