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Dante Alighieri Printed Works

Date range: 15th-20th centuries

Medium: Printed

Number of items: 6,500 items.

The nucleus of this collection, including the rarest and most important early printed editions, comes from George John, 2nd Earl Spencer (1758-1834), acquired by Enriqueta Rylands in 1892 through her purchase of the Spencer collection. This includes all but one of the 15 incunable editions of the Divina Commedia (Naples, about 1478), 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.

The bulk of the collection are 19th-century texts and commentaries. The majority of the critical works were collected by Count Giuseppe Lando Passerini (1858-1932), librarian of the Biblioteca Laurenziana in Florence and renowned Dante scholar. His collection was purchased by Mrs Rylands in 1906.

Further information:

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


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