Basic statistical computation of the above data would lead scholars to several preliminary conclusions related to Galileo’s biography, but books resist the fixity implied by means and standard deviations of their metadata. The collection neatly covers 150 years, but given the many early years without coverage, the median value is 1614. Yet, the histogram really shows the earliest that Galileo could have acquired a book, or that his father could have added the book to his own collection that Galileo inherited in 1591.
Current details on Galileo’s library can be found in the forthcoming article: Crystal Hall, “Galileo’s Library Revisted,” Galileaena (in press); bibliographic information and a partially searchable database can be found at the website of the Galileo Museum in Florence: http://www.museogalileo.it/en/explore/libraries/library/galileolibrary.html
For example, one of the titles, a 1555 edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy, which theoretically could have belonged to his father according to the histogram.2 Thanks to a recent private exhibit in Rome where this book surfaced in 2012, and thanks to the lovely dedication from Orazio Morandi, we know that this book actually was sent as a gift to Galileo in 1624. This kind of precision is only possible with 30 titles in the entire collection. The most striking observation about this data set is the emphasis on book collecting that occurred in the last three decades of Galileo’s life, which is the same period in which he was articulating a philosophical methodology based less on close readings of philosophical texts and more on experience, the senses, and the physical world. Highlighted by Corriere della Sera for the exhibit “Dante poeta e italiano”, Rome, June 21-July 21, 2011. … Continue reading
Click here for information about geographical coverage of the books in the library.
Click here for information about the networks of people and places represented on title pages on the books.
|↑1||Galileo Museum in Florence: http://www.museogalileo.it/en/explore/libraries/library/galileolibrary.html|
|↑2||Highlighted by Corriere della Sera for the exhibit “Dante poeta e italiano”, Rome, June 21-July 21, 2011. http://roma.corriere.it/gallery/roma/06-2011/dante/1/-spazio-_4867bc60-9b79-11e0-b9a7-5cbc176a671d.shtml|