1536 Comedia del Divino Poeta Danthe, Dante Alighieri. Stagnino Ferrari, Venice. Illustrated, Divine Comedy


1536 Comedia del Divino Poeta Dathe Alighieri... the third Stagnino edition of Dante's Divine Comedy, richly illustrated. This copy collates complete except that it does not have the title page, and a prefatory table; Worldcat records seven other copies (OCLC record numbers below), in libraries, that also start at the leaf titled, "Cantica del Divino Poeta Alighiere Fiorentino", which is a strong coincidence, leading one to wonder if all copies had the prefatory table when released by the publisher Stagnino.

Dante's Divine Comedy is considered one of the most important works of the Middle Ages, and one of the greatest works in the Italian language. In extreme brief, the poem describes Dante's travels through hell, purgatory and heaven.

About This Edition -

This printing was the third printing of Stagnino, a member of the celebrated Ferrari printing family (more on Stagnino below).

This edition was edited by Pietro da Figino, a Franciscan friar of whom not much is known; his editions tell us that he was of the order "minori" and was a "master of theology and excellent preacher".

This edition includes the commentary of Cristoforo Landino, who worked at the Florentine Studio, as the chair of oratory and poetry, under the patronage of Pierro di Cosimo de' Medici in the 15th century. Landino's commentary on the Divine Comedy was very popular, and was included in many editions of the 15th and 16th century.

About Stagnino and the Divine Comedy -

Bernardino Giolito de Ferrari, known as Stagnino, was from the Ferrari family of printers, moving from their hometown of Trino, to Venice by 1483. One hundred and ninety three editions are attributed to him between 1483 and 1538.

Stagnino printed Dante's Divine Comedy in 1512, 1520, and 1536. Google Books hosts a scanned version of this edition, where the title page advertises the addition of a table to the 1536 edition; six copies recorded in Worldcat show the title page and table missing, perhaps indicating that not all 16th century readers considered the table of added benefit (if, it was produced for all 1536 copies).

Google Books also hosts a 1512 edition, and we find that both this 1536 edition, and the 1512 edition, share the same woodcuts, although there are some significant typographical differences (text type, borders, etc.); the title page to the 1520 edition advertised the change to italic type, which is more easily read.

About the Binding -

A "signed" (stamped in gilt) 19th century fine-binding, executed by bindery of the bookseller George Rutland, in Newcastle-on-Tune.

Bibliographic Details -

Universal Short Title Catalogue number 808785; not rare, found in many of the world's finest libraries (BNF, Cambridge, Bodleian, the Morgan, etc.).

Four worldcat entries record seven copies with the same missing title page, and table, as ours: OCLC entries 1025534974, 634538142, 491928089 and 49424895.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 20.5 x 14 x 4 cm, quarto. Crushed morocco leather binding, perhaps olive colored. Boards with three frames of double gilt fillet, corner florets on the middle frame, four tools resembling a leafing heart around the edges of the middle frames; executed in the Cambridge style. Board edges with a wavy gilt roll. Spine with five raised bands, five compartments with a gilt frame, one with Cantica di Danthe in gilt, and year and place of publication at base of spine in gilt. All edges are gilt. Silk place-keeping ribbon. Turn-ins with a frame of gilt. Gilt stamp of bindery on front turn-in. Marbled endpapers. Illustrated with roughly 95 woodcuts.

Missing title page and table inserted at beginning by printer.

Pages - Starts at second title page, with16 prefatory leaves and then 440 numbered leaves of text.

Collation - AA-BB8, A-Z8, Et8, AA-ZZ8, 2pi8, SS8, **8, A-D8

Condition -

See pictures. 19th century fine binding with some wear; edges and joints show visible wear. Spine has darkened a little. Top-edge of text block with some dust darkening. Pencil bookseller mark on flyleaf verso.

Missing title page, and "Tabula" leaves.

1/2 title page (begins book) and has some darkening and foxing; ink mark on verso and 1 cm tear at bottom edge. Throughout the book there is light toning which, somewhat, resembles foxing by developing in spots. Occasional thumb, dog-eared page and candle ember spot throughout. Crumb spot at bottom of AA8verso. Ink tailpiece added to A1 recto. Occasional underlining and annotations. Ink mark bottom C6. Upper corner D7 torn away, 2" tear on D8. Spot bottom margin G2. Dropped type mark bottom M3r. Ink spots P2. Very occasional moisture mark from bottom corner. 1cm tear margin Y1. Chip in margin Y2. Ink spots Z5. Ink smudge II3. Very occasionally more toning. Ink spot YY1, 2pi4, C6. 1 cm hole **3 margin. Pinhole bottom last 5 leaves.

I nitpicked, but really a very nice book, with clean pages and well bound.

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