A true giant cultural fact of prestigious and rare books from around the world: the LondonLibrary, is an archive of historical books, unique in the world.The London Library, founded in 1841, is the UK’s leading literary institution. With more than one million books and periodicals in over 50 languages, the collection includes works from the 16th century to the latest publications. Among the many European collections could not miss the Italian collection.
The London Library’s remarkable Italian Collection represent an extensive resource of research level interest covering a variety of subject a rare collection of historical books and Italian literature, and you can find classic books or science Galileo Galilei’s books also.
Since its inception in 1841, the London Library has actively collected material relevant to Italian studies and its remit. In the past for selection and acquisition purposes, the library relied on the expertise of eminent scholar, many of whom were also member of Library, Italian émigrés and political refugee exiles. Amongst the latter was the political refugee Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-1872), a personal acquaintance of Thomas Carlyle ( 1795-1881) founder of the London Library.
Several book and Italian materials were acquired through the Rolandi Bookshop, based in Berners Street in London., which had became a rendez-vous point for Italian refugees and a centre for cultural activity. A notable example is the Foscolo edition of the Divine Comedy completed by Giuseppe Mazzini and published in London in 1842. The Italian Collection have grown steadily over time-suffering, perhaps inevitably, during the two world war periods.
The Library has continuously maintained an active acquisition policy and benefited from several important donations and bequests. Valuable work have been donated to the Library by Keen collectors of Italian materials and distinguished scholars such ad A.J.P. Taylor, Trevelyan and Toynbee to mention a few. During 2009 in excess of 200 monographs in Italian were added to the Library’s holdings. To capture the full extent of the collections it is necessary to draw attention at the outset to their presence in many section not labelled “Italian”.
There are notable strengths: Art, covering all periods and aspects: Literature, including important critical edition: History, with an emphasis on the renaissance and Risorgimento. In those sections where only a token presence is to be found, such as Italian Philosophy, the library is nevertheless keen to augment the collection further.
Even in those fields, however, the Library holds the representative work of all major authors and a selection of others. Italian material in the social Sciences is acquired more selectively. All influential authors are represented however and the Library holds the work of writers and scholars such as: Gaetano Mosca, Antonio Gramsci, Norberto Bobbio. Works by historical scientists as, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei etc) are acquired but collecting is otherwise limited to the history of science and modern developments at a general reader level. With a few exceptions ( e.g. Gianni Rodari) children’s books are not purchased.
The Italian Literature collections include all the major Italian writers, from Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Macchiavelli, Ariosto,Tasso, Foscolo, Leopardi, Manzoni,D’Annunzio, Sciascia and Moravia.
The library maintains a strong collection in all areas of Italian literature and drama form the medieval and renaissance periods onwards, including literary philosophy. The Dante collection merits a mention. A sizeable number of works were donated in 1910 by the Dante scholar Dr. Paget Jackson Toynbee, Fellow of the Oxford Dante Society. In addition to several edition of Dante’complete works and critical commentaries both in italin and English, the library possesses the series Lectura Dantis for the years 1889-193, il Giornale dantesco for the years 1894-1915.
The Library collects and holds various academies and learned societies publications. Amongst publication relevant to Italian studies are: Studi Veneziani, Published by the Cini’s Fondation of Venice, works published by the Accademia dei Lincei and by the Regia deputazione di storia Patria.
In a few words, a little Italian history is preserved within the walls of London Library For the Italian people that live in London or for tourists, is very exciting to go and read the Italian books in the library, they can find all the flavor of the history and Italian roots. THE LONDON LIBRARY – 14 ST JAMES’S SQUARE – LONDON SW1Y 4L