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Italian Literature

Last Updated: 18-Mar-2015

Library resources for the study of Italian language and culture

New Acquisitions

Italian language and literature materials at Stanford are found in the call number range PQ4000-PQ6000.  Most of these works are readily available on the 3rd floor stacks of Green Library, while others may be paged from Stanford Auxiliary Library 3 (SAL3). Rare works and materials published before approximately 1830 may be consulted in Special Collections.

Recent acquisitions

Useful Databases

In addition to MLA International Bibliography, Ebsco, JSTOR and Project Muse article databases, try the following:

AIDA [electronic resource] : articoli italiani di periodici accademici = Bibliography of Italian periodical literature

Textes de la Renaissance and Colloques, Congrès et Conférences, Renaissance européenne - primary and scholarly works on the Renaissance

I libri database [electronic resource] = Italian bibliography on-line

Electronic Enlightenment - correspondence between 18th century intellectuals

Making of the Modern World - primary sources on European political economy and social thought

Eighteenth Century Collections Online - 18th century primary sources

Periodicals Archive Online - full text scholarly journals and magazines, international scope.

Or from Searchworks, limit to Database, French and Italian Studies, or from xSearch, choose Subject - Italian Studies

Notable Materials and Special Collections

The Stanford University Library collects widely in the field of Italian literature. Our extensive holdings in Renaissance literature are particularly noteworthy, with important rare editions of the great trecento masters Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch. Other areas of strength are 18th-century playwrights, literature associated with the Risorgimento, and works reflecting all phases of 20th-century Italian history, including the Italian avant-garde, futurism, and fascism.  We also have an extensive collection of contemporary Italian literature. Materials published earlier than approximately 1830 can be consulted in Special Collections.


In 1987 the library acquired a major collection on Dante Alighieri, comprised of over 3,000 volumes and including nine fifteenth-century editions of the Commedia as well as a 1490 printing of the Convivio. Sixteenth-century editions form a significant part of the collection, including all major commentaries, early printing, and the rich texture of criticism evoked by the content and language of the poet’s work. The collection's critical studies extend into the mid twentieth century, adding modern editions with new commentary, key translations, commemorative publications, related political and cultural ephemera, and sources that highlight the extensive iconographic tradition associated with Dante. From Wendelin de Spira and Aldus Manutius to Giovanni Battista Bodoni, William Blake and Salvador Dali, the collection illustrates the variety of criticism and publishing ventures the poet inspired. While the collection’s individual titles are dispersed throughout the Green Library stacks and in the Department of Special Collections, a full list of the original contents may be seen in a typescript abbreviated list, with fuller descriptions of rare editions in the collector’s extensive notebooks and in his annotated copy of Giuliano Mambelli’s Gli annali delle edizioni dantesche, con XLVI tavole fuori testo; contributo ad una bibliografia definitiva (Bologna: Zanichelli, 1931). An exhibit in 1988, titled “Al divino dall’umano,” highlighted a large part of the Collection. On the cover of the exhibit checklist is a line drawing derived from the romanticized portrait of Dante found in the 1564 Cristoforo Landino edition of the Commedia, often called the “gran naso” edition. Information on the exhibition and samples of commemorative keepsakes can be obtained from the Curator or from the Department of Special Collections.

Here is a selection of rare or unique materials of interest to Italian literary scholars. Also check Au courant for monthly updates of selected acquisitions:

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Stanford Library holds an extensive collection of Italian dictionaries, including translation dictionaries and works of the many dialects and regional vernaculars.

Of special interest are:

different editions of the Vocabolario of the Accademia della Crusca

the Opera del Vocabolario italiano (SU only)

Treccani website, with the important Italian dictionary, Encyclopedia, and Dizionario biografico degli Italiani

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