‘Visions of Dante:’ seeing the Italian poet with new eyes

Oct 01, 2021 248

BY: Susan Kelley

In 1892, as Willard Fiske, Cornell’s first librarian, was restoring a spacious villa in the hills overlooking Florence, Italy, he bought a small book. It was more than 350 years old with a “sad” binding. He’d later confess that he bought it only because he thought it was unusual – and inexpensive.

The book was a 1536 copy of the “Divine Comedy” by the medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Fiske sent the book to Cornell, downplaying its value in a postcard to interim Cornell Librarian William Harris. “No special value attached to the edition so far as I know,” he wrote. “Should the Library already possess a copy, please forward this to the library at Dryden.”

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SOURCE: https://news.cornell.edu

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