7-Vol. Set to Give Vatican Library History; Vol. 1 Ready

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 11, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A plan to document the history of the Vatican Library is well under way, with Vol. 1 of a seven-volume set already available.

"Le origini della Biblioteca Vaticana tra Umanesimo e Rinascimento" (The Origins of the Vatican Library, from Early to Late Renaissance) was presented Thursday at Vatican Radio.

The book is nearly 500 pages long and presents high-quality photographs and images, covering the period from the years of the pontificate of Nicholas V (1447-1455), who founded the library, to the death of Clement VII Medici (1533).

Antonio Manfredi edited the first volume. He explained that the book is divided into three main sections: one that covers the papal collection before the Vatican Library; a historical view of important times, places and personages; and a look at particularities of the books, with a several-chapter study on the evolution of printed materials.

"Not only do we have before us the history of the library over the course of the years, but contemporaneously the history of culture, which begins with the first humanist Pope, Nicholas V, in a context of culture and art," said Neria de Giovanni, president of the International Association of Literary Critics, who participated in the presentation of the volume.

Manfredi noted how all the photographic material in the book is digitalized, which enabled its relatively quick preparation. And he explained that following the present rhythm of digitalization of the some 80,000 manuscript documents, there will be "a second virtual Vatican Library, so to speak, next to the real one," which will "open possibilities of research unthinkable a few years ago."

The book was published by the Vatican Library itself, with the close collaboration of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

The next six volumes will treat the history of the library in the Catholic Reformation, the new headquarters and 17th-century acquisitions, the Napoleonic age, the era from the restoration to the pontificate of Leo XIII, the span between Leo XIII and Pius XI, and finally from Pius XII to our days.

The second volume is expected in 2012.

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On the Net:

Presentation and to purchase: www.vaticanlibrary.va/home.php?pag=detteditoria&idogg=SBV_1&ling=eng