The editorial conventions systematically adopted by the Biblioteca Bodoni are not arbitrary. The Biblioteca Bodoni makes available a very wide range of texts, largely consisting of correspondence and including not only fair copies (e.g. letters that were actually sent by their author and received by the person to whom they were addressed), but also drafts (e.g. Giambattista Bodoni’s minute or his rough copies). We cannot be certain whether or not many of these drafts are identical to the polished versions that were actually sent. In these cases we must also recognise that the author’s habits of composition — which, for a variety of reasons, are interesting in their own right — cannot be discerned or are overlain by other possible versions of the letter in question. This is for reasons ranging from the author’s having made a fair copy himself to his having delegated the writing to a secretary who either took dictation or who copied out the author’s draft, imposing his own conventions in the process.
 In some instances the author specifically indicated that his secretary should supply the formulaic parts of the letter: the salutatio and conclusio, and even some of the narratio. Time-honoured practices (Totò and Peppino’s famous sketch of the semi-literate fratelli Caponi writing a letter, which was so often performed by Benigni and Troisi or by Benigni and Celentano, comes to mind in this context) or phrases learned by heart at school prolonged the life of archaic formulas well into the eighteenth century, the Golden Age of letter writing. In his drafts Bodoni often topped and tailed his narratio with a bare but eloquent «laus, laus, laus» which, in the fair copy that was sent, would be worked up either into brief flattery of the addressee or into a full-blown encomium. Moreover, there are many examples, including letters from Bodoni himself, in which sections of one letter were copied across to another, merely being tweaked to fit the author’s or the addressee’s circumstances at the time. We know that, like many another, Bodoni spent hours dashing off letters just before the courier was about to set off. Mention of the consequent fretta, becomes a topos in the introduction or narratio, as is the commonplace of the scribbler chained to his desk. It is understandable why in some cases paragraphs, or almost entire missives, intended for different recipients should be repeated when they dealt exclusively with business or were written out of courtesy, or, indeed, when they were recounting the same events to various different correspondents. What is more striking is the repetition of whole paragraphs containing specific references in letters that were sometimes written years apart. Nevertheless, we find this in some of Bodoni’s letters. For instance, he does not hesitate to borrow twenty lines from one he had written to somebody whose imminent demise was announced in the Florence gazette. In that letter Bodoni had referred to circumstances so specific to his correspondent that it was most unlikely that anybody else would ever find himself in a similar situation. Yet, ten years later, another of his correspondents did, and Bodoni duly recycled those same twenty lines in the letter he wrote to him (see, Cátedra 2013b).
 We are forced to conclude that as Bodoni came under increasing pressure of correspondence from all over Europe, and even from the Americas, he drew on a store of previous letters. Indeed, he tried at different times to keep a copialettere of ones he had received that were notable for the distinction of those who sent them to him, and the collection would thus to enhance his own standing. Certainly no other printer ran off on his presses as many letters he had sent or received as Bodoni did so he could send copies to his correspondents or to a select readership. Letters were a way of keeping himself in the public eye and served as a means of self-advertisement.
 Recourse to printed guides to the art of writing letters or personal memoranda which drew upon practical experience of such writing was usual right up to the nineteenth century. Bodoni composed a similar compendium of examples, as is witnessed by a small manuscript notebook which he compiled for his own use and is to be found among his papers (Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Archivio Bodoni, Minute di lettere inviate non identificabili, B. 52/3):
[a] Il mio lungo silenzio è una colpa così imperdonabile che io non ho coraggio di azzardar nemmeno qualche magra scusa, che pur vorrei allegare. Credo perciò meglio lasciare a Voi il merito della clemenza in tutta la sua parità, contentandomi di assicurarvi che la mia tardanza a rispondere provenne da tutt’altro che da mancanza di stima per la vostra persona, e per le cose vostre [antes de vostre cancela del], del che mi lusingo avervi date non poche prove in contrario
[b] Ella seguiti a coltivare il suo spirito, e continuandomi la sua grazia mi creda con vivo sentimento
[c] Ella mi ami, mi compatisca, e mi creda pieno per Lei del più affettuoso attaccamento
[d] Mi continui il suo affetto, e mi creda con vivo e dolce sentimento
[e] Mi conservi la sua grazia, e disponga per tutti i suoi amici dei sensi della mia affettuosa stima, riserbandone per se quel puro fiore con cui mi pregio di essere
[f] Il suo dono squisitissimo servirà a rallegrare qualche brigatella di scelti [interlineado sobre amici cancelado] amici, ed a fare echeggiare il nome del grazioso donatore. Se queste [corr. questi] frutta hanno dei diritti sul mio palato, Ella ne ha uno ben più assoluto e legittimo sulla mia gratitudine, e su quella vera ed affettuosa stima colla quale mi pregio di protestarmi
[g] Mi continui la sua bontà, e non cessi di credermi
[h] Mi conservi la sua grazia, e mi creda con vero sentimento quale mi farò sempre gloria di protestarmi
[i] Vostra Eccellenza si compiaccia di conservarmi quel grazioso patrocinio di cui mi fece un dono così generoso e spontaneo, e creda che io assaporo colla più squisita compiacenza dell’animo l’onore che Ella mi accorda di protestarmi
[j] Mi continui l’ambizioso dono della Sua grazia, e sia certa che io non la cedo ad alcuno nel senso di quell’affettuosa venerazione, con cui mi glorio di protestarmi
[k] Ella mi comandi, e mi creda quale col più sincero affetto, stima e riconoscenza mi rassegno
[l] Sono e sarò in perpetuo colla più viva stima ed amicizia
[m] Penetrato da questi sincerissimi sentimenti mi segno con distintissima estimazione ed ossequio
[n] Io La ringrazio nuovamente sì del piacere che mi ha procacciato, come della gentil propensione che Ella mostra per me, e mi compiaccio sinceramente di protestarmeLe
[o] Desidererei, che dietro questo, si compiacesse di porgermi l’occasione d’impiegare nell’adempimento de’ suoi desiderati comandamenti, la stima, la servitù, e l’amicizia che sinceramente gli professo, onde farmi sempre più conoscere quale con tutta la considerazione e ossequio mi protesto
[p] Supplico a Vostra Eccellenza a volermi continuare in qualunque spoglia l’onore della Sua bontà, e pieno di giusta venerazione mi glorio di protestarmi
[q] Mi conservi la Sua grazia, mi comandi, e mi creda con vera ed affettuosa stima
 The challenge facing the scholar editing the various sorts of letters included in the Biblioteca Bodoni is no less difficult than that facing the historian who will make use of them. Both have to decide what was personal to Bodoni and what were commonplaces. The historian’s task is principally to judge to what extent a letter is important as a personal testament or as a vehicle for borrowed material; that is to say how far a letter that was actually sent is to be regarded as a standard product of a particular age, and how far a note, an unpublished draft, or sometimes even a letter that was dispatched may be used a source for Bodoni’s autobiography. Similar, the challenge for the scholarly editor is to decide what is personal to Bodoni and what is a commonplace, and how to distinguish between those two elements that are always present in authors’ writings by/about themselves.
 The contribution made by critics is, naturally, very important and must be taken into account. I shall not mention here editions of Bodoni’s letters published before 1979; their scholarly rigour and usefulness are often indisputable, but the methodology they employ has been surpassed by modern practice and theory. The work of Boselli, in particular his edition of the correspondence between Renouard and Bodoni (Boselli 1931), or Angelo Ciavarella’s magnum opus that gave us the correspondence between Azara and Bodoni (Ciavarella 1979) have provided the starting point for modern editions of collections of letters similar to those included in the Biblioteca Bodoni.
 Combining a wide consensus reached after discussion and exchanges of views between specialists (e.g. Postigliola 1985), and the Italian scholarly tradition of producing critical editions of authors and vernacular texts (e.g. Brambilla Ageno 1984), Angelo Colombo analysed the problems raised by editing correspondence such as that between Giambattista Bodoni and Vincenzo Monti (Colombo 1994). His analysis is essential reading. Colombo’s editorial decisions are on the one hand conservative enough to take into account aspects of the letters which can be explained by the linguistic and historical context in which they were written, or even by the changing relationship between two correspondents: for instance, the use of various, and sometimes affectionate, forms of address (e.g. diminutives or nicknames) which testify to the development of that relationship; on the other hand his decisions make the texts perfectly readable.
 Colombo’s edition, based as it is upon sound philological criteria, certainly marks a new departure in the editing of Bodoni’s correspondence, and it has been followed by more recent publications such as the correspondence between Albertolli and Bodoni (Cleis & Noseda & Ramelli 1996). Just as important has been a series of editions which were the result of research projects carried out under the aegis of the Università degli Studi di Parma and supervised by William Spaggiari and Leonardo Farinelli, especially the admirable edition of the correspondence between Bodoni and Denina by Rosa Necchi. In her «Nota al testo» (Necchi 2002, 35-40) she maintains that her edition is conservative, and so it is insofar that she faithfully reproduces the original letters. However, in her 22 explanatory notes, in which she details her editorial intervention, she poses and finds sensible solutions to practically all the dubbi which the texts raise.
 For this reason a substantial number of Necchi’s conventions have been adopted by the Biblioteca Bodoni. However, as ours is a digital edition, we can do things that a conventional one cannot. For example, we can show the original document and the edited version side by side. This means that the editor is not faced with the problem of having to deal at one and the same time with some of those uniquely personal and commonplace elements in the texts which I have already mentioned.
 It is therefore possible to be scrupulously conservative in philological matters while also systematically regularising standard elements in the text such as the abbreviations found in those sections that are necessarily formulaic (e.g. the heading, or intestazione, the salutatio and the conclusio). Various abbreviations are automatically resolved, and the reader only alerted in notes about those cases that stand out from normal usage as real oddities. The following are thus resolved as indicated:
Chiariss.o / Chiar.mo / Chiar.mo = ‘Chiarissimo’ or ‘chiarissimo’.
Col.mo / Col.mo = Colendissimo.
Div.mo / Divo.mo= ‘Divotissimo’ or ‘divotissimo’
E. V. / V. E. = ‘Eccellenza Vostra’ / ‘Vostra Eccellenza’.
Gio. /Gio: / Gio; Batt.a. = always ‘Giambattista’ [an exception will be made where it is certain that an affectionate term of address is being used].
M.ª = ‘María’ or ‘Maria’.
M.º / M.ro = Ministro.
obbl.º / obbl.mo = ‘Obbligatissimo’ or ‘obbligatissimo’.
P. S. = ‘Post scriptum.’
Pad.e / P.re / P.ne = ‘Padrone’or ‘padre’, as appropriate.
serv.e = ‘servitore’. In some cases where this abbreviation is resolved one finds servidore. The archaic form is retained in those cases, and, naturally, that form is also a possibilty wherever that abbreviation is resolved.
Sig.r = ‘Signor’ or ‘signor’.
Sig.re = ‘Signore’ or ‘signore’.
Stimatiss.º / Stimatiss.mo = ‘stimatissimo’.
V. S. / V. Sr.a / S. V. / V. Sr.ª.= ‘Vostra Signoria’ / ‘Signoria Vostra’.
 The only abbreviations I do not resolve are S. M. C. (Sua Maestà Cattolica), which always refers to the King of Spain, and the abbreviated titles of monarchs like the King of France, the King of Portugal, or S. M. I, always the Emperor.
 I have modernised punctuation, accents, and the use of capital letters, and have transcribed personal pronouns used in formal address using capitals (e.g. Ella, Lei). I have done the same with enclitics (e.g., ringraziarLa). As for spelling, I regularise only alternative versions such as j/i (e.g. giojello is always transcribed as gioiello).
 As for the general conventions adopted in the presentation of the texts, I follow modern Italian usage. Thus I always add a comma after the salutatio, or initial greeting, although the letters themselves are not consistent in this. Otherwise, I consider it important to be conservative in my transcriptions, not only because of the numerous linguistic variants explained by where Bodoni’s Italian correspondents came from, but also because many of his correspondents were foreigners and their Italian was not flawless. When one of their mistakes might lead modern readers to assume that the edition contains an erratum or that the editor has made a mistake, sic in square brackets is not added as would be usual, because readers can easily access the original document and check for themselves.
 All those of us involved in the Biblioteca Bodoni project, and in particular I, as its director, would be grateful for any suggestions for improvement of, or corrections to, this edition of Bodoni’s letters. Those wishing to make such suggestions or corrections should do so through the facility provided in the ‘Contacts’ section.
 As time goes on numerous editions of parts of Bodoni’s correspondence will be incorporated into the Biblioteca Bodoni. The criteria outlined above may not always have been adopted in some of them. Individual editors’ conventions will be respected, especially where their edition is a reprint or is a new edition of one that has already been published in a non-digital form. However, this will always be made clear to readers.
 All of the letters or similar documents coming from the Archivio Bodoni or from other collections containing Bodoni material have been transcribed by the person whose name figures in the relevant note. The transcriptions will be checked by other members of the research group.
Pedro M. Cátedra
(transl. Clive Griffin)