Exhibits in Special Collections

Boccaccio, Il Decamerone, ed. Nicolò Delfino (Venice, 1516). Newly acquired by the Department of Special Collections.

Telling 100 Stories: Italian History and Culture in Special Collections

Department of Special Collections, 976 Memorial Library

September 3 – December 13, 2019 

Framed by Boccaccio’s Decameron, a collection of tales set during the Plague, this exhibit highlights our strong holdings pertaining to Italy, its history, language, and culture, in anticipation of the fourth triennial conference of the American Boccaccio Association to be held in Madison October 3-6, 2019. Local sponsor of the conference is the Department of French & Italian, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Among the themes explored in the exhibit are

  • Boccaccio, his life and work
  • Dante and Petrarca
  • wit
  • deception
  • fortune
  • love
  • Italian literary history
  • philology and language
  • Italian history and geography
  • stories in the tradition of the Decameron
  • fortune
  • death
  • women and feminism
  • religion
  • science, nature, and health
  • cruelty
  • printing traditions
  • animals
  • sex
  • food.

Books and manuscripts on display date from the 15th through the 20th century; many are in Italian, but English, French, Spanish, and Latin are also represented. We are particularly pleased to include works by Italian women writers and to feature items from such collections as the Fry Collection on Italian History and Culture.

Open Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM, on the 9th floor of Memorial Library.  Visitors are welcome.

Curated by Lisa Wettleson and Carly Sentieri with Nick O’Connell and Robin Rider.

Bindings from the Fry Collection of Italian History and Culture. Photo by Eric Ferguson.