Italian Literature Collection Development Policy


The Italian collection supports CAS and GSAS programs in Italian through the doctoral level. Emphasis is on literature, language, and civilization. Civilization is interpreted here in its broader connotation to include cultural works affecting the study of literature. Representative works in Italian philosophy, political science, and sociology are not excluded. Departmental interest is focussed on medieval and renaissance literature; late 19th and 20th century literature especially decadent literature and fascism; and women authors.

The collection also supports course work and research in the following programs: NYU-CUNY Consortium; Comparative literature; Dramatic Literature, Theatre History, and the Cinema; Literature in Translation; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; Women's Studies; and the Foreign Language Education program at the School of Education.

The interdisciplinary approach of courses and research within the Italian department (especially for, but not restricted to, medieval and renaissance studies) are supported by the various pertinent collections in art (including music), history, philosophy, religion, the social sciences, and the sciences.


  1. Language

    The collection consists principally of literary texts and criticism in Italian. Early medieval texts (Le Testi delle origini) are collected in Latin. Works of major authors are also collected in English translation. Criticism, literary history, and theory are collected in Italian as well as in English. Collecting in other Western European languages is highly selective.

  2. Geographical Areas

    Coverage includes Italy and Italian-speaking Switzerland. Representative works of emigre Italian literature are acquired selectively.

  3. Chronological Periods

    Basic literary sources and current critical scholarship are selected for all periods, from the Middle Ages to the present. The medieval and Renaissance periods as well as late 19th-, and 20th-century literatures and criticism are major concerns, and contemporary Italian culture and history are emphasized.

Types of Materials

  1. Included

    Monographs, monographic series, serials, newspapers, proceedings, facsimiles, reprints, microforms, audio-visual and electronic media (including electronic texts). Exhibition catalogs and dissertations are acquired very selectively.

  2. Excluded

    Dissertations when requested only for individual research, manuscripts, textbooks, ephemera, maps.

Strengths & Weaknesses of the Collection

The collection's strengths lie principally in some areas of medieval as well as contemporary literature. Among specific authors Boccaccio, Dante, Foscolo, Montale, and Pirandello should be noted.

The collection is very weak in representative works of emigre Italian literature as well as in basic texts and works relating to Italian dialects (both in Italy and abroad).

Gaps exist for both major primary and secondary sources particularly in the medieval and renaissance periods (Latin texts), 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. Critical editions of basic works in those periods are lacking, and that part of the collection needs considerable strengthening. Many titles needed to fill these gaps are currently out of print, but the library is committed to acquiring such essential titles in the form of reprint editions.

Important gaps also exist in the support collections that are of importance to interdisciplinary research particularly in the medieval period, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries: among other, medieval and renaissance science and the renaissance humanistic endeavor.

Continuing collecting efforts will focus on the acquisition of multiple copies of works in heavy demand, the filling of gaps in major primary and secondary sources, and the systematic identification and replacement of missing or worn volumes of standard works.

Efforts have been made to collect more extensively for poetry and works by woman authors.

Other Resources

For additional information regarding the library's collection in Italian see the following statements: Art; Comparative Literature; Linguistics; Music; Performing Arts; Philosophy and Religion; Politics; Sociology; World History.

Subjects & Collecting Levels

LC Class Subject ECS CCI DES
PC1001-1984 Italian language B B C
PC 1701-1874 Italian Dialects A B C
PC4001-5999 Italian Literature A B B

In particular, Le testi de le origini (Latin); Dolce Stil Nuovo; the Sicilian School; Boccaccio; Dante; Petrarch.

16th century
In particular, Ariosto and lyric poetry; Bembo and Humanism; La commedia dell' arte; Bruno; Tasso.
17th century
In particular, late Renaissance philosophy (Bruno, Galilei); Baroque poetics; Campanella; Marino and Marinismo.
18th century
In particular, Mestastasio (and Arcadia); the theater (comedy - Goldoni); drama; tragedy (Alfieri); Parini; Vico.
19th century
In particular, Romanticism/post Romanticism; the novel (historic; gothic; naturalism and verismo); Carducci; D'Annunzio; Foscolo; Leopardi; Manzoni.
20th century
n particular, Futurism; poetry (crepuscolari; ermetismo; decadentismo; group 63; neo-experimentalism); post-Avant-garde narrative; post-World War II novel; contemporary theater (De Filippo; Pirandello).
PQ4186-4199 Folklore & Literature A B B
PQ 5941-5999 Literature outside Italy, including Italian-speaking Switzerland and late 19th-and early 20th-century emigre literature A B B
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