Herman Melville’s Copy of the Comedy

herman-melvilles-copy-of-the-comedy“. . . 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