This article focuses on the nineteenth-century print circulation of Dante’s Vita Nova (1292–94) and especially on the response in print media to the tension between new critical approaches to text editing, on the one hand, and editors’ dependence on the text’s complex history on the other. At the center of this discussion is one of the thorniest aspects of the Vita Nova’s text: the divisions (technical prose of a scholastic nature in which Dante explains the formal structure of his poems). Over the centuries, Dante’s authority over his own text was brought into question on account of the inclusion in the literary text of what readers and editors considered to be commentary. Even though in the second half of the nineteenth century the editors began recognizing the divisions’ rightful place within the libello’s text, they continued—operating within the centuries-long tradition that did not consider them “text” but rather “gloss”—to engage in efforts to differentiate them from the rest of the text in order to point out their different textual nature.

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