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Ludovico Limentani book collection

Books and brochures obtained from the personal library of philosopher Ludovico Limentani (Ferrara 1884 - Dolo 1940), professor of moral philosophy at the University of Florence

The preparation of a university library

The Limentani collection has an interesting story, as it is the “richest” of the original units of the University of Trieste Philosophy Library. The Faculty of Literature and Philosophy. was created in Trieste in 1943 and the collection of essential books and library supplies began immediately, to allow its eight Institutes to function correctly; in 1945, the Philosophy Institute had a library of just 670 volumes. Amidst this difficult growth, we find the intervention by professor Giorgio Radetti, first appointed to a temporary position and thereafter as full professor of history of philosophy and moral philosophy, who promoted and presumably obtained the acquisition, in 1949, by the University of the vast, prestigious personal library of Ludovico Limentani, Italian philosopher who died in 1940, two years after having been forced out of his position in Florence by the racial laws. The collection of over 8,000 items is recorded as being part of the University Library since April 1949, with a total value, then destined for the Philosophy Institute that would inventory it and use it, clearly not as historic testimonials, at the time it was of course fairly recent, but rather to quickly expand the sheer volume of its library. All the books were therefore catalogued and distributed to the various sections with only the brochures and extracts, of which there were a great many, positioned all together, separately, forming the Limentani Miscellany.

The philosopher's library

Today, the collection has become of historic interest. Unfortunately, we have no information about the library or its organisation when it was owned by the philosopher and we cannot be certain that the collection held in Trieste is actually complete: Limentani was a passionate bibliophile and some works of value may have been sold off separately or sent elsewhere. The most intact part may be that of the miscellaneous items: more than 3,000 brochures and extracts, for the most part published during the years of Limentani’s work and often bearing handwritten dedications by the authors. These documents bear witness to the philosopher’s vast interests of study, the network of his personal relations and, more generally, they outline the history of the extensive Italian debate of the times, between positivism and the birth of human sciences.

Optimisation of the collection

In the current Library of Philosophy, Languages and Literature that houses them, the Limentani collection books have not been physically put all together, some have maintained their original collocation in the first chain numbers of the original sections, while others have been relocated. Only the Miscellaneous items are still positioned in a single series, as attributed at the time of acquisition by the University of Trieste. The collection has all been recently identified on the basis of inventory registers and stamps added by the University; it is now catalogued in the National Library Service, specifying the owner, which allows for a virtual reconstruction as a single set.

The Collection contains Italian and foreign works of philosophy, along with others of science, religion, literature, psychology and social studies. There are also around 300 important antique books, including some dating back to the 16th century and publications from the 16th and 17th centuries, often first editions of classics of modern philosophical culture.

List of documents in the Ludovico Limentani Fund

Modern books (published after 1830)

Antique books(published before 1831)