Alessandro Paganini was an innovative publisher and printer who has recently
been credited by book historians with the invention of the editorial series,
that is, a cycle of publications which share the same editorial characteristics
and presentation. The remarkable distinguishing characteristic of Paganini's
first collection was their small format. In fact, the 1515 edition of Dante
in the very compact 24mo is unique among editions of Dante in the Renaissance.
It was part of a series begun in the same year which included Petrarch's
Rime, Jacopo Sannazaro's Arcadia and Pietro Bembo's Neoplatonic
love dialogue, Gli Asolani. This editorial program can be considered
an elaboration on Aldus' innovations at the beginning of the century, both
for the small format and for the elegant characters which are midway between
italic and roman. The choice of works also follows Aldus. Their intended
courtly audience is clearly indicated by the persons to whom the individual
titles are dedicated, embracing some of the most prominent figures of the
Italian High Renaissance courtly society, including Isabella d'Este, Giovanni
Aurelio Augurello, and Pietro Bembo. Paganini's 1515 Dante is dedicated
to no less than Giulio de' Medici, who later became Pope Clement VII (1523-1534).
[1527/33], [Toscolano]: PAGANINO AND ALESSANDRO PAGANINI
Paganini published two states of the Comedy in 24mo, commonly known
as "Dantini," one with pages numbered in roman and the other with
arabic numerals. Between 1519 and 1538 Alessandro and his father Paganino
printed at Toscolano, on the shores of Lake Garda. There they published
another Dante, this time in octavo, shown here with printer's mark displayed:
P.ALEX.PAG./ BENACENSES./ .F./ BENA./ .V..V.
The mark has been interpreted as P[aganinus et] Alex[ander] Pag[anini] Benacenses
f[ecerunt] Bena[co] v[ivat], meaning generally that, "Paganino and
his son Alessandro from the Benaco region made this book in Toscolano"
-- Benacum being the Roman name for Toscolano, which is located near Lake
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