The 1491 First Edition of Dante's Lyric Poetry

The 1491 First Edition of Dante's Lyric Poetry
Dante Alighieri, La Commedia, comm: Christophorus Landinus; Rime diverse; Marsilius Ficinus, Ad Dantem gratulatio. Ed: Piero da Figino.Venezia, Petrus de Plasiis, Cremonensis, 18 Nov. 1491.

ff. [324]; 2°
ISTC id00033000 (
Bod-Inc Online


The princeps (first printed edition) of Dante’s lyric poetry includes only his canzoni (long lyric poems). It is an appendix to an edition of Cristoforo Landino’s commentary on Dante’s Commedia, one of the seven fifteenth-century reprints of this highly successful commentary that were produced after its publication in 1481.
This edition was printed in Venice on November 18, 1491 by Pietro Cremonese (Pietro Piasi) and was edited by Pietro da Figino, a Franciscan friar, who - unconventionally - signs his edition. The colophon at the end of the Comentum reads: “Et fine del Comento di Christoforo Landino Fiorentino sopra la Comedia di Danthe poeta excellentissimo. E impresso in Vinegia per Petro Cremonese dito Veronese: A dì .xviii. di novembrio M.cccc.Lxxxxi. emendato per me maestro Pietro da Fighino dell’ordine de’ frati minori.” It is a large folio, decorated by 97 small woodcuts, plus three in full page scale, one for each cantica. The canzoni directly follow the Commedia after a blank line. They are printed in three columns, and are introduced by a plain rubric: “Cancione dello excellentissimo poeta Dante Aldigeri fiorentino comminciano qui feliciter.” Both copies owned by the Bodleian Library show idiosyncratic interventions by readers (translations and restoration of damaged parts). But none of these interventions pertains to the canzoni, and hence we can infer that these readers did not find them interesting.