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The cult of Dante

Dante, Virgil, and the leopard

 "... he who spends his life without renown
  leaves such a vestige of himself on earth
  as smoke bequeaths to air or foam to water."

          (Virgil to Dante, Inferno XXIV, 49–51, trans. Mandelbaum)
Dante, Virgil, and the leopard, Inferno I, illustrated by
Franz von Bayros (Zurich–Leipzig–Vienna: Casa Editrice
"Amalthea", 1921). LA(118) [this image not on display]

The sixth centenaries of Dante's birth in 1865 and death in 1921 generated a huge number of publications, of both academic and popular appeal. The 1865 celebrations came in the wake of the unification of Italy in 1861, and Dante had been a key figure for the Risorgimento, the movement for Italian freedom and unification. Dante was revered as a national figure; in Naples, for example, a square was renamed Piazza Dante, and a statue of Dante erected there in 1872.

From the end of the nineteenth century into the beginning of the twentieth, numerous popular objects were produced to satisfy the appetite created by the fashionable cult of Dante, including calendars, diaries, almanacs, and prayer books. Several books retelling Dante for children were also published, under such titles as Dante's wonderful dream, told for young people or Stories from Dante, told to the children.

Please see label captions  
Giornale del centenario di Dante Allighieri
Issue no. 22 of the Giornale del centenario di Dante Allighieri. Celebrato
in Firenze nei giorni 14, 15 e 16 maggio 1865
(Florence: M. Cellini, 1865).
LA(112) [item not on display]