The Rome Gateway and the Center for Italian Studies to collaborate on enriching the Rome Library Italian Literature Collection

Author: Costanza Montanari

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The Rome Global Gateway and the Center for Italian Studies have started a collaboration to enrich the Rome library collection during the academic year 2018-2019. Due to last year’s success, the collaboration was extended to the current academic year 2019-2020. The first project in this collaboration will involve the acquisition of a collection of Italian literature from its origins in the XIII century to the present.

This co-sponsorship fits into a variety of collaborative projects between the Rome Global Gateway and the Center for Italian Studies, whose aim is to encourage a constant flow of interaction between the Notre Dame communities on campus and in Rome. It also involves the interaction of Notre Dame’s partner institutions in the city.

 “The Center for Italian Studies has collaborated with the Rome Global Gateway since its very beginning, organizing conferences, leading research projects, and sponsoring educational initiatives,” says David Lummus, assistant director of the Center for Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

“With the Center’s ongoing contributions to the Gateway Library, we hope to establish over time a collection of essential canonical literary works in Italian and English translation.”

Lummus says that the aim of the Center is to support current and future Notre Dame students whose educational paths bring them to Rome for study abroad or for research.

Chiara Sbordoni, adjunct professor in Italian at the Rome Global Gateway, has been the reference point in Rome for outlining the list of books that will be of a substantial enrichment to the already existing library collection.

“So far, we have purchased most of Dante’s works in keeping with Notre Dame’s tradition of Dante Studies, and many modern literary works,” says Sbordoni. “The collection is destined to grow and the plan is that of acquiring and making available all the texts forming the literary tradition of Italy from its origins to the present.”

In the Rome library, Notre Dame students, faculty, and guests will find the most representative texts from each epoch, the masterpieces of the great Italian authors, from Dante Alighieri to Elsa Morante, Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino and Elena Ferrante, in both the original version and the English translation.

“The literary tradition is of course part of the identity of a nation,” continues Sbordoni, “so the Italian literature collection is a very significant addition to our already rich library, a fundamental resource for our teaching and research, and for the general intellectual growth and debate of our students, faculty and visiting scholars.”

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Being such a broad and comprehensive collection, each one of the faculty and staff members have their favorite book to choose from.

“My favourite book on the list is The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa,” says Lummus. “It beautifully represents Italy’s unique political challenges in the period of its Unification. The novel’s sublime decadence is matched by its prophetic relevance.”

Sbordoni’s favorite book in the expanding collection would be instead Dante’s New Life, the Vita Nova, the first book that Dante wrote when he was twenty-eight or twenty-nine years old, collecting thirty-one of his juvenile poems and linking them through a prose narrative and self-commentary.

“It is the story of Dante’s love for Beatrice, even beyond her death,” Sbordoni says. “It’s a love that makes his life new, and it is the story of the making of Dante as a poet. I love the Vita Nova because it is a gem, an intriguing, mysterious little book full of dreams and visions and it is really the first important book ever written in Italian, and in a surprisingly beautiful and rich Italian vernacular not too far from the language we still speak nowadays.”

The Rome Library is located in the Rome Global Gateway’s building. It is currently comprised of nearly 4,000 volumes searchable in the online catalog. The collection is continuously growing to meet the needs of new students and faculty studying abroad. Click here to learn more information about the library collection.

Originally published by Costanza Montanari at rome.nd.edu on October 04, 2019.