An introductory note on the menu of the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum’s Café G:
“Isabella Stuart Gardner’s love for the medieval extended to literature as well as to art, and she was particularly devoted to the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321). Gardner was a member of the Dante Society and collected several rare copies of the Divine Comedy, including a manuscript of the poem written within a century of the author’s death. She stored these precious books alongside a death mask of the poet in the ‘Dante Case’ in the museum’s Long Gallery. [. . .] We hope you enjoy this special menu, inspired by Inferno. It features fiery hot peppers in a variety of different forms.” —Café G Menu (click to see full menu)
Contributed by Nancy Vickers
“Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem Divina Commedia has had an incalculable impact on Western culture, not least through its inspiration of visual artists. After all, Dante’s descriptions of grotesque figures, fantastic landscapes, and inventive punishments virtually beg to be depicted visually.
Now anyone can view and download approximately 1,000 of these images from eleven editions of the poem published between 1487 and 1846 courtesy of Cornell University Library’s Divine Comedy Image Archive (DCIA). These images are available free in Shared Shelf Commons, the open-access library of images from institutions that subscribe to Shared Shelf, ARTstor’s Web-based service for cataloging and managing digital collections. The DCIA plans to make available a total of approximately 2,000 images from editions dating through 1921.” —Artstor, November 7, 2012
Contributed by Emma Pyle (Bowdoin, ’12)
“[Chris Lowenstein] began acquiring antiquarian editions of Dante more seriously, with the idea of publishing her first catalogue entirely on the Italian poet. Since Dante’s work has a 700-year history, she narrowed her search by focusing on books published within the last 300 years, and only those that were illustrated, signed, or unusual in some way.
‘I wanted to show that you can build a really interesting and meaningful collection even if you couldn’t afford to buy the incunabula,’ Lowenstein said.
Book Hunter’s Holiday’s full-color catalogue containing 65 items was published last month. Lowenstein also provides a PDF version on her website [Book Hunter’s Holiday], as an invitation to young collectors.” [. . .] –Rebecca Rago Berry, Fine Books & Collections, March, 2010
“. . . Associate professor of English Steven Olsen-Smith is a leader in that scholarly community. He is the primary researcher responsible for tracking the recovery of Melville’s dispersed personal library of around 1,000 books and serves as general editor of Melville’s Marginalia Online, a long-term project devoted to the editing and publication of markings and annotations in the books that survive from Melville’s library.
Olsen-Smith recently borrowed Melville’s copy of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ from collector William Reese as part of the Marginalia project’s pending transition to a new digital format that will display photographic images of marked and annotated books with commentary on their significance to Melville’s writings. The book will be on campus through March 31, and Olsen-Smith’s student interns currently are working to catalog notations and recover erasures. . .
‘Melville marked subject matter dealing with issues of free will and fate, original sin and divine justice, and aspects of subject matter and rhetoric that relate to the book’s epic character,’ Olsen-Smith said. ‘It is clear Melville read and marked the book at different points throughout his life, and the interns are identifying parallels between the marginalia to Dante and subject matter in his writings.'” [. . .] –Erin Ryan, Boise State University Update, March 31, 2010
Contributed by Patrick Molloy