It seems a curious injustice that one of the most artistically influential women in history should never have been the subject of a full-length biography. In the mid-1980's, an inaccurate and highly romanticised study of the Marchesa's life was published. This was followed by the release of a collection of correspondence and telegrams between Casati and D'Annunzio. But unlike those works, which were equally concerned with D'Annunzio and published only in Italy, the goal of Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati is to introduce Casati herself in a factually accurate manner to a global audience. For most of the last century, and now well into the new millennium, her unique image has been on view in major art museums and galleries, collections and special exhibitions worldwide. This fact alone proves her dominance as a significant muse in the history of 20th-century art.
Infinite Variety is the only full-length, family-authorised biography of the Marchesa Luisa Casati. Written by noted authors Scot D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino, all editions of it have been produced with a wealth of illustrations. Obtained from private sources and painstakingly restored by The Casati Archives, many of these images have been reproduced here for the first time. This exhaustively-researched study includes a foreword by acclaimed wit, the late Quentin Crisp–who met Casati in London where she spent the final act of an altogether extraordinary lifetime. With the tremendous crossover appeal of its fabulous subject; sold-out status of almost all editions; and continued extensive worldwide press coverage, Infinite Variety is an established literary sensation. And since its initial publication in 1999, followed by now sold-out editions in Italian, French, Russian, and the still in-print German translation as well as the Swedish version, the book continues to be cited internationally in many major art exhibition catalogues, biographical works and historical studies of art and fashion as the only source for complete and accurate information on the Marchesa Casati.
The lavishly-illustrated, deluxe coffee-table book The Marchesa Casati: Portraits of a Muse featuring a new text by Ryersson and Yaccarino published by Abrams Books internationally in 2009 to tremendous critical and popular acclaim is sold-out. And in 2017, Infinite Variety (The Ultimate Edition) was released featuring a completely revised, updated and expanded text with never-before-seen images. This exhaustive volume is surely the finest homage to the subject in words and images ever.
In autumn 2019, Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati celebrated twenty years in print—a rarity in book publishing of any kind. So finally, it must be recognized that as a result of the continuous activity surrounding this biography and related projects, the Marchesa Luisa Casati's position has been fully regained as an icon recognized worldwide whose life and legend is still astonishing new and future audiences.
The 2017 Completely Revised, Updated and Expanded
‘I want to be a living work of art.’
—The Marchesa Casati
Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati
The Ultimate Edition
In the feature article ‘The Divine Marquise’ for The New Yorker (September 22, 2003), National Book Award winning author Judith Thurman stated: “The only biography of Casati in English, Infinite Variety, was published four years ago and is out of print, but it deserves to be revived.” That once unfortunate state of affairs was rectified when the University of Minnesota Press published a revised trade paperback version of the book in 2004. Now more than a dozen years and four printings later, Infinite Variety remains the last word on this extraordinary icon.
Prepare to be astonished again...
Infinite Variety is the only full-length, family-authorised biography of the Marchesa Luisa Casati. The completely revised, fully updated, and greatly expanded English-language 2017 edition contains the most up-to-date version of the Marchesa’s amazing adventures yet uncovered by authors Ryersson and Yaccarino. The hardcover book is further graced by the late Quentin Crisp's original foreword and a newly-penned, insightful afterword by fashion authority Francesca Granata, as well as a spectacular selection of meticulously restored color and black & white images from The Casati Archives. A tantalizing portion of these visual treasures has not appeared in any previously published version of the biography—or indeed have ever been reproduced anywhere else. Therefore, it is no wonder that the University of Minnesota Press’s release of Infinite Variety has been officially dubbed as ‘The Ultimate Edition’. The autumn 2017 publication is intensely anticipated as well since the majority of the book's prior editions around the world have long been sold out, many now considered collector’s items.
Established in 1925, the University of Minnesota Press is recognized internationally for its innovative, boundary-breaking editorial program in the humanities and social sciences. It is under such estimable auspices that Infinite Variety is available once more in yet another metamorphosis—and one as dazzling as the inimitable muse who inspired it.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Launched in autumn 2017 and available only in this English-language, hardback format, Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati (The Ultimate Edition) is not a reprint of any previous release of the biography. This is a newly revised, updated and expanded publication replacing all previous versions in any language.
ISBN-13: 9781517903718 • Hardcover • 347 Pages • USD $29.95/CAN $40.76/UK £24.99
60 Colour and Black & White Illustrations (photographs & artwork reproductions)
The 2021 Worldwide Publication of
the Swedish-Language Edition
‘Jag vill vara ett levande konstverk.’
(‘I want to be a living work of art.’)
—The Marchesa Casati
La Marchesa: Luisa Casatis liv och skepnader
[La Marchesa: The Lives and Figures of Luisa Casati]
With a face powdered dead white, massive eyes ringed with kohl, and a tangle of hair ignited into a henna inferno, the Marchesa Casati was the living incarnation of the European artistic and literary Decadent movement. Diabolical in self-design, she had no competitors as the preeminent embodiment of the astonishingly bizarre for multiple decades. So Swedish-language readers have been raising a glass of absinthe in honor of the first-ever translation of the Marchesa's complete story in their Scandinavian tongue.
To coincide with the January 23rd birthday of its sparkling subject, Alastor Press released worldwide La Marchesa: Luisa Casatis liv och skepnader [La Marchesa: The Lives and Figures of Luisa Casati], the Swedish-language edition of Infinite Variety. The beautifully rendered translation of the official Casati biography has been completed by Ellinor André and the book given its sumptuous design by Beatrice Bohman and Martina Andersson. The entire production was overseen by Hillevi Norburg, co-director of Alastor Press whose own lauded translations include those of Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly, Charles Baudelaire, Remy de Gourmont, Marcel Proust, Renée Vivien, and Oscar Wilde, among others. Including Ryersson and Yaccarino's most recent research discoveries, the text is fully updated and revised. The Alastor Press edition includes an exclusive foreword penned by Per Faxneld, a noted scholar specializing in Western esotericism, new religions and "alternative spirituality". His award-winning analysis Satanic Feminism: Lucifer as the Liberator of Woman in Nineteenth-Century Culture focuses on La Casati as a significant rebel-heroine defying conventions of her own and future times.
Since 2001, Alastor Press remains an exquisite gem among international publishers, producing highly sought-after translated works of 19th- and early 20th-century literary classics of the Symbolist and Decadent movements. The Swedish edition of Infinite Variety is their first non-fiction title. Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, Alastor Press is led by Hillevi Norburg and Andreas Lundberg.
ISBN-13: 9789189633698 • Luxury Paperback • 404 Pages
295 kr/USD $TBA/CAN $TBA/UK £TBA
67 Colour and Black & White Illustrations (photographs & artwork reproductions)
'Ich möchte ein lebendes Kunstwerk sein.'
(‘I want to be a living work of art.’)
—The Marchesa Casati
The German-Language Editions
Die göttliche Marchesa
[The Divine Marchesa]
Although undisputed artistic and cultural icon of Italy, the Marchesa Casati's familial heritage is most firmly rooted in Austria. Indeed, her paternal grandparents and maternal grandmother originated from this beautiful area of Central Europe. So then Die göttliche Marchesa: Leben und Legende der Luisa Casati (or The Divine Marchesa: Life and Legend of Luisa Casati), the German-language, hardcover edition of Infinite Variety, has quickly become a source of national pride and the recipient of tremendous critical acclaim upon its autumn 2006 release by Haymon Verlag, the esteemed Innsbruck-based publishing house.
German-language readers first became fully aware of the Marchesa's astounding exploits, as detailed in Infinite Variety, when German Vogue featured the article “Mythische Marchesa” in their February 2000 issue. Further interest followed with the March 2005 publication of a major survey of Casati's eccentric existence in Ladylife, the popular Austrian culture magazine. But now the entire story has been revealed in luminous detail for the first time in the German language. Translated by Astrid Tautscher, the now sold-out hardcover Haymon Verlag edition of the biography includes a completely updated text adorned by a cache of visual gems documenting the Marchesa's enthralling life journey. Major press attention on the book was launched with important coverage in the October 2006 issue of German Vogue. A special media highlight was when Park Avenue magazine (Hamburg) included Casati in the top-twenty of the one hundred most important style icons of the past century in their April 2007 issue.
Due to the overwhelming success of the original German-language edition, a now sold-out paperback version was released by Random House Germany (btb) in March 2009. Shortly after its publication, the popular culture magazine Brigitte described the book's reading experience as '...immersing one in Casati's fantastic world of costume parties, decadence and enormous luxury.' Due to continued popular demand, in 2012 Haymon Verlag published a further paperback edition currently available.
In 1935, Man Ray captured the Marchesa Casati in one of her most celebrated photo-portraits costumed as the beloved Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Smiling slyly with leather whip in-hand betwixt two rearing horses of papier-mâché, the Marchesa stares triumphantly forward into the new millennium. An eager audience in the land of her forebears has greeted this arrival with a thunderous ovation.
Holiday 2009 Book Selection, Die Standard (6 December 2009), Germany
What We Love Selection, German Vogue (October 2006), Germany
HAYMON VERLAG PAPERBACK
ISBN: 978-3-7099-7072-0 • Trade Paperback • 264 Pages • EUR 24.90
78 Black & White Illustrations (photographs & artwork reproductions)
ORIGINAL GERMAN HARDCOVER EDITION COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!