The Castle of Otranto (1791) is a typographical and bibliographical symbol of Italian interest in the English world, printed by Bodoni, the Italian leading printer among British bibliophiles. Other local Italian editions, of English interest, published over the century are little studied as part of the national retrospective bibliography; nevertheless they provide new documentary evidence for the history of Italy’s perception of English culture. Italian intellectuals prised English political and cultural institutions; they study the language and sometimes they even knew English libraries, or private books collections. On the other hand, in England, in the XVIII century there was the second important wave of books printed in Italian: about 200 editions whose paratextual elements show us they were read by a large public, not only in main central cities, often by female or in mercantile circles. The compositorial practices and the prices of those Italian editions are in line with other publications of the period. Italian books were also imported. The paper focuses on some of the eighteenth-century Italian books, which are to be found today in the British Library, amongst those about 2000 Italian editions entered the Library’s collections in the second half of the XVIII century. The paper traces first owners of those books and investigates the reasons for the purchase and gift; it uses a methodology of analysis centered on bibliographic details of books; it considers the signs of the stamps as useful in reconstructing the history of books, in dating their entry in the Library collections and therefore in identifying those projects Librarians possibly have to complete the Library collections or to witness, with those holdings, a piece of Italian Culture.

Eighteenth-century Italian books in London: the presence of Italian regional publishing in the collections of the British Library

CAVAGNA, ANNA GIULIA
2010-01-01

Abstract

The Castle of Otranto (1791) is a typographical and bibliographical symbol of Italian interest in the English world, printed by Bodoni, the Italian leading printer among British bibliophiles. Other local Italian editions, of English interest, published over the century are little studied as part of the national retrospective bibliography; nevertheless they provide new documentary evidence for the history of Italy’s perception of English culture. Italian intellectuals prised English political and cultural institutions; they study the language and sometimes they even knew English libraries, or private books collections. On the other hand, in England, in the XVIII century there was the second important wave of books printed in Italian: about 200 editions whose paratextual elements show us they were read by a large public, not only in main central cities, often by female or in mercantile circles. The compositorial practices and the prices of those Italian editions are in line with other publications of the period. Italian books were also imported. The paper focuses on some of the eighteenth-century Italian books, which are to be found today in the British Library, amongst those about 2000 Italian editions entered the Library’s collections in the second half of the XVIII century. The paper traces first owners of those books and investigates the reasons for the purchase and gift; it uses a methodology of analysis centered on bibliographic details of books; it considers the signs of the stamps as useful in reconstructing the history of books, in dating their entry in the Library collections and therefore in identifying those projects Librarians possibly have to complete the Library collections or to witness, with those holdings, a piece of Italian Culture.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/237505
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