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Dante Alighieri Collection

6,500 items.

The Library's Dante Collection is justly famous. The nucleus of the collection came with the Spencer Collection in 1892, but there have been many significant additions since 1900.

Few libraries can rival a collection which includes all but one of the fifteen incunable editions of the Divina Commedia, that of 1474 (but does offer all three 1472 editions).

The 16th century is represented by 65 editions and variant copies.

Only three editions of the Divina Commedia were published in the 17th century and the Library lacks only the 1613 edition (although this version of the text can be offered in a reprint of 1629). About 30 editions were published in the 18th century and of these the Library has 25.

Attention can be drawn to the first Roman edition of 1791, printed on blue paper, with Lombardi's commentary, and the illustrated editions of Zatta published in Venice in 1757-58 and 1784.

The bulk of the collection is, of course, formed by 19th-century texts and commentaries. The majority of the critical works were collected by Count Passerini.

Finding aids

  • Recorded in .
  • See also Kathleen Speight, 'The John Rylands Library Dante Collection', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, vol. 44 (1961-2), pp. 175-212.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library