The Merchant of Prato: Francesco Di Marco Datini, 1335-1410

Iris Origo (Author) Charles Nicholl (Introduction by)
Pre-Order   Ships Jul 14, 2020


A warm, intimate, and engrossing biography of Francesco di Marco Datini, who built a powerful mercantile network in fourteenth-century Tuscany, and a peerless evocation of the sensations, personalities, and everyday struggles of Italian life more than half a millennium in the past.

This extraordinary re-creation of the life of the medieval Italian merchant Francesco di Marco Datini is one of the greatest historical portraits written in the twentieth century. Drawing on an astonishing cache of some 150,000 letters unearthed centuries after Datini's death, The Merchant of Prato reveals a shrewd, enterprising, anxious man as he makes deals, furnishes his sumptuous house, buys silks for his outspoken young wife, and broods on his legacy. It is an unequaled source of knowledge about the texture of daily life in the small, earthy, violent, striving world of fourteenth-century Tuscany.

Product Details

$19.95  $18.35
New York Review of Books
Publish Date
July 14, 2020
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About the Author

Iris Origo (1902-1988) was a British-born biographer and writer. She lived in Italy and devoted much of her life to the improvement of the Tuscan estate at La Foce, which she purchased with her husband in the 1920s. During World War II, she sheltered refugee children and assisted many escaped Allied prisoners of war and partisans in defiance of Italy's Fascist regime and Nazi occupation forces. NYRB Classics publishes Origo's A Chill in the Air: An Italian War Diary, 1939-1940, War in Val d'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944, and Images and Shadows: Part of a Life.

Charles Nicholl is a historian, biographer, and travel writer. His most recent book is Traces Remain: Essays and Explorations. He lives in Italy.