We all have dream books and this has long been one of mine. As I understand it, the notion of the current Enciclopedia Dantesca was born toward the end of the Second World War when the editor Umberto Bosco recognized the need for an update to the 1895 Enciclopedia Dantesca directed by Giovanni Andrea Scartazzini (digitized copies of which are available for view here). It took until 1965 – the 700th anniversary of Dante’s birth – for the project to gain enough interest to be put into production. Work then proceeded and between 1970 and 1977 six total volumes were published. These were revised and reprinted in 1984 (the revision seems mostly to have been an expanded bibliography), and that revision was itself reprinted in a limited run luxury edition in 1996 (which is the one I’ve had out from my library for 6? years). Then in 2005 the enciclopedia saw another revision, this time adding bibliography for 1985-2005 and at least retouching the biography (I don’t have the 1996 volume at hand to compare so I can’t be sure the extent). This latest printing, distributed across an impressive 16 volumes, is now in my personal library – though homeless until I shift about some other books. There is an online version here that includes everything but volumes 1-4 – the texts, commentary, biography, and bibliographies – but it’s not quite the same.
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