Bologna: Edizioni di "Volontà" 1922. First Edition. Octavo (19.5cm.); publisher's cream card wrappers printed in orange and black; 118pp. Spine rather significantly cocked, some wear to extremities; still, quite a Very Good, fresh copy of a scarce edition.
A series of fictional conversations and debates between a student, a "borghese," an anarchist-socialist, a judge, and a merchant. Divided into chapters, the "characters" discuss a socialist constitution, economics, communism, government, laws and communist anarchism. The first ten conversations were written in 1897 before Malatesta fled Italy, and were based on his experiences as the frequenter of "a café that was not usually the haunt of subversives such as himself...Anarchism would almost certainly have been one of the topics of conversation since the anarchists of the city [Ancona] constantly bombarded their fellow townspeople with a barrage of propaganda" (Robin Healey, "Italian Literature Before 1900 in English Translation" 0584, citing the 2005 translation). Only upon his return to Ancona, in 1913, did Malatesta revisit the conversations, publishing the first ten in his new journal "Volontà" though they were not fully completed until after the end of World War I, in 1920, shortly before the author's arrest. Though his home was searched and arms and explosives discovered, the manuscript was either missed or ignored and published in its entirey for the first time in this edition with a short afterword by Luigi Fabbri, co-editor with Malatesta of the journal "L'Agitazione." (See Paul Nursey-Bray's introduction to the 2005 translation). Exceedingly rare: no copies in the trade as of October, 2019; Smith College and the IISH only in OCLC.