About the project

The Manchester Digital Dante Project is a British Academy-funded collaboration between the Italian Department and the John Rylands Library of the University of Manchester.

This pilot project will digitize three culturally significant incunable editions of Dante’s poem, the 1477 Venice, 1478 Milan, and 1481 Florence editions. Printed within four years of each other and produced at a time when editorial conventions in the new medium of print were still extremely fluid, these three editions express very different approaches to and intentions for Dante’s poem in their format, layout, and accompanying paratexts.

Complete digital facsimiles of the three books will be prepared during the period of the project (February 2009- August 2010) and will then be made publicly available via a dedicated project website.

Dante studies in Manchester has a long and illustrious history within and beyond the University. Italian has been taught at the University since 1884, while the Manchester branch of the Società Dante Alighieri was founded in 1906 and was one of the first to be set up outside Italy.

The John Rylands Library of the University of Manchester, recently granted National Research Library status, has outstanding holdings in the early Italian print book, and its Dante collection is particularly renowned. The coverage of the holdings is exceptional: the JRUL holds 14 of the 15 editions printed before 1500, and in total, 39 of the 44 editions of the Divine Comedy printed in Italy before 1629, often in multiple copies, as well as editions of Dante’s other works of the period.

The Manchester Digital Dante project therefore draws on our departmental heritage, our research expertise, and, most of all, on our historic collections of early printed Italian books in order to create an electronic resource with which to share these great cultural assets with the world.

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3 responses

18 03 2010
Day of Guyda Armstrong » Digitizing the premodern book

[…] the time of writing, my Manchester Digital Dante project is well underway, and we’re aiming to launch it sometime in Autumn 2010. It’s a very […]

22 06 2011
Team SCARLET, in the Library with Augmented Reality | SCARLET (Special Collections using Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching)

[…] Our first project meeting wasn’t all post-it notes and project planning; Team Scarlet (as we like to be known) got to see some original manuscripts and early printed editions that this project aims to merge (using Augmented Reality) with the abundance of digital assets that the University of Manchester are so fortunate to have access to. is so fortunate to have access to. We got to see three different Dante books, Guyda and John were brilliant guides to these and I wish I’d captured this on video to add to the digital assets. What struck me were the enhancements and additions made to these books over the years, and how our project was continuing that work. The Landi manuscript from the 15th century, which was hand-written, left plenty of space on the page for the scribe or others to make notes, just as we will be, adding information to the existing work in the digital age. A later version of the same text was printed in Florence in 1481, and copper-plate illustrations were added.  Guyda pointed out that in this edition only the first two images were printed directly onto the page, while the rest were stuck in, because it must was too difficult a process to print them with the text. This edition is one of the three editions digitized in Guyda’s Manchester Digital Dante project. […]

6 11 2011
Digital dante | Commonthreadgr

[…] About the project « Manchester DanteThe Manchester Digital Dante Project is a British Academy-funded collaboration between the Italian Department and the John Rylands Library of the University … […]

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