Locating Boccaccio in 2013 is a series of events to be held at the University of Manchester to commemorate 700 years since Boccaccio’s birth, organized by academics from the Italian Departments of the Universities of Manchester and Leeds, Dr Guyda Armstrong, Dr Rhiannon Daniels, and Professor Stephen J. Milner.

The John Rylands Library of the University of Manchester, recently granted National Research Library status, has outstanding holdings in the early Italian printed book. In total, the Rylands calculates that it has 6,000 items relating to Boccaccio, and the holdings are extraordinary both in terms of Italian editions and their diffusion across different linguistic territories.

Some of the most remarkable Boccaccio books in the world are in Manchester: we have the editio princeps of the Decameron (c. 1470) (one of only four extant copies in public libraries worldwide), and the famous ‘Valdarfer Decameron’, the only complete surviving copy of Valdarfer’s 1471 Venice edition. This is the copy originally owned by the Duke of Roxburghe, who sold it in 1812 for £2,200, making it the most expensive book in the world at that time.

In total, we have 29 different incunable editions of Boccaccio, including not only the Italian and Latin editions but also the earliest print translations in French and English, and all but two of the incunables of the Decameron. There are a further 90 editions (in Latin, Italian, English, French, Spanish, and German) printed before 1600, many in multiple copies.

Our 2013 events will be centred around this extraordinary collection, and will offer scholars from around the world the opportunity to engage with these material witnesses to Boccaccio’s enduring importance.

The Library’s Dante collection is similarly renowned. The coverage of the holdings is exceptional: the JRUL holds 14 of the 15 editions of the Divine Comedy printed before 1500, and in total, 39 of the 44 editions of the poem printed in Italy before 1629, as well as editions of Dante’s other works of the period. Dr Guyda Armstrong is currently Principal Investigator on the British Academy-funded Manchester Digital Dante Project, which is digitizing three culturally significant incunable editions from the library’s collections.


5 responses

10 05 2011

This site is all questions! Very hard to understand and completely unhelpful. I wanted to know ABOUT boccaccio not get more confused. Please revise your site to make us happy!

10 05 2011

Dear Jane, I’m sorry the site wasn’t what you were looking for; unfortunately, it’s about our conference in 2013, and not Boccaccio in general. Have you tried the Decameron Web? If you want to know about Boccaccio, there’s no better place to begin!

28 10 2012

Boccaccio Decameron, a brilliant monologue
by Carolina Gentili

11 04 2013

I am looking for information on registering for this conference. Is that information available yet?

11 04 2013

Thanks for your enquiry, Natasha – we’re hoping to have the registration website up in the next few days. We’ll also announce it on the various Italian-Studies lists and on this blog. A prestissimo!

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