Enrico Malatesta. New York: Il Martello, 1922.



Enrico Malatesta. New York: Il Martello, 1922.


At 352 pages, this edition of Nettlau's biography of Malatesta - published in the same year (1922) and by the same publisher (Il Martello) -  is 48 pages longer than the other edition. See the other edition for a brief bio of Nettlau, who was (according to Paul Avrich) the foremost historian of international anarchism. Note that the title page of this edition calls this a "unique authorized translation from the unpublished English" version, information lacking in the shorter edition.

Here are the differences (in addition to the above): the title page of this edition notes it contains a "prefazione di Pietro [Pedro] Esteve e note sull'autore di Harry Kelly [preface of Pedro Esteve and note on the author by Harry Kelly]" not present in the other edition.

Esteve was the charismatic Spanish leader of anarchists, including Italians, in the U.S. and in Mexico; married to an Italian woman, he was fluent in and wrote in Italian.

Less associated with Italian anarchists than Esteve, Harry Kelly contributed a two-page note, or "due parole sull'autore [two words on the author]," in which he stresses that Nettlau was the very "antithesis" of Malatesta (and Bakunin) - a scholar, as opposed to the men of action that these latter two were.

An American, Kelly (1871-1953) was himself a colorful character, friend of Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and Peter Kropotkin (while Kelly lived in London) as well as of Nettlau, who called Kelly "one of the living anarchists who contribute real thought to the movement." Kelly is featured in a variety of connections to both the trade union and anarchist movements, to Mother Earth, and to the Francisco Ferrer Association, in Paul Avrich's Anarchist Voices.

Other changes in this edition: following Chapter XX (which exists in both editions), this edition alone contains an "Appendice" of four pages, which is "La dichiarzione finale di Errico Malatesta avanti ai giurati in Milano [the final declaration of Errico Malatesta before the jurors in Milan]" with respect to the trial recounted in Chapter XX.

Finally, the cover of this edition - in place of the almost abstract, geometric design of the other edition - includes a striking, almost granitic sculpted head of Malatesta seemingly growing out of the side of a hill. A close examination in the lower left corner suggests (but does not make it entirely clear) that the illustrator may have been Fort Velona, q.v., the brilliant caricaturist of the Italian American left.

One can speculate that either the first of the two 1922 editions (the shorter one) was so popular that Tresca decided to republish it almost immediately, but with some attractive additions, like the portrait of Malatesta, the Esteve and Kelly prefaces, and Malatesta "declaration" - or the opposite, that the shorter edition did not sell well, so Tresca tried to juice it up, in order to increase sales, with this more robust edition.


Max Nettlau


19.5x13cm; 352 p.


Max Nettlau, “Enrico Malatesta. New York: Il Martello, 1922.,” Italian-Language American Imprints: The Periconi Collection, accessed December 6, 2022, https://italianamericanimprints.omeka.net/items/show/467.

Output Formats


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>