This is the first edition of the Comedy to be accompanied by commentary. The book was edited by Cristoforo Berardi da Pesaro, probably the same "Christophoro" who edited Windelin's 1470 edition of Petrarch's Canzoniere, the other great vernacular classic of the period. Printers and publishers consistently entered the vernacular literary market with the publication of a Petrarch followed by a Dante.

The text attributes the commentary to the pre-humanistic period author Benvenuto da Imola (completed in 1380). In reality though it is the earlier vernacular commentary of Jacopo della Lana, composed during the first half of the 14th century. The misattribution is probably intentional, and can be explained by the fact that Benvenuto da Imola would have been a more resonant name for Renaissance readers.

The editor showed good intuition in adding a commentary to the text of the poem. He understood that Dante had become in his own way a classic. By way of introduction, Boccaccio's "Life of Dante" is published here for the first time, together with a summary of the poem, and the arguments from the Foligno edition. At the end, the editor placed Dante's "Credo," Busone da Gubbio's chapters, and a sonnet traditionally attributed to Boccaccio: "Dante Alighieri son, Minerva oscura" (I am Dante Alighieri, obscure Minerva), as well as the editor's own horrible sonnet, which serves as a colophon.

Windelin's was the first edition of the Comedy carried out with both historical and didactic intentions. Significantly, it was produced in Venice, a great center for the book trade but where a contemporary vernacular literary tradition had not yet emerged, as it had in places like Naples, Mantua and Milan. The edition is set in a miniature gothic type, in contrast to all other 15th-century editions of Dante's poem which featured some form of roman type. In fact, following the manuscript tradition, gothic was usually reserved in Italy for religious texts, while roman or humanistic type was used for secular works. The two copies of the Windelin edition displayed here show further evidence of how manuscript conventions influenced early typography. The Notre Dame copy appears as it did when it left the press, whereas The Newberry Library copy was taken to a manuscript illuminator, who painted in the spaces left by the printer for initial capitals and paragraph markers.

No edition of the 15th century applies the epithat "divina" to the poem. But at the end of Windelin's, in the editor's humble verses, we find the epithet applied to the poet -- "inclito et divo dante alleghieri Fiorentin poeta..." (illustrious and divine Dante Alighieri Florentine poet ...) -- long before the adjective "divina" came to be applied to the title of the poem in Lodovico Dolce's Giolito edition of 1555.