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Venice: Johannes de Colonia and Johannis Manthen, 1475. Second Edition. Hardcover. An Excellent Contemporary Copy of a WorkPublished during the 15th Century Author's Lifetime. 241 x 165 mm (9 1/2 x 6 1/2"). 94 unnumbered leaves (the first and last blank). Double column, 40 lines, gothic letter, capital spaces with guide letters. Second Edition. Contemporary calf over wooden boards, broad triple-ruled blindstamped diaper patterns on covers, small portions of the original spine leather carefully renewed, 17th c.(?) paper label at top of spine, clasp and catch lacking, early (faded) ownership number painted in white over orange at base of spine. Old notes on front blank (including at least one 17th century ownership inscription), a few other neat marginal annotations in the text, modern bookplate of Walter Hirst on last flyleaf. Goff C-184; BMC V, 226. Leather a little spotted, marked, and with minor worming (covers with a total of perhaps 40 small round wormholes), but a very satisfying, entirely solid binding without serious wear. Minor worming at front and back, first couple of quires with a bit of thumbing and soil, but mostly bright, smooth, and fresh internally. This is a very attractive copy in an unrestored period binding of a collection of sermons significant because they comprise the words of a living 15th century author and because they come from one of the earliest presses in Venice. Robertus Caracciolus (1425-95) was the most celebrated preacher in Italy during the last four decades of his life. Called a "second Paul," the "new Paul," and the "prince of preachers," he was able to arouse his listeners to sometimes unseemly levels of emotion, and partly for that reason, he was a controversial figure among the Franciscans of his time. (Catholic Encyclopedia) The sermons here deal largely with the fear of divine justice as the consequence mankind must expect for disobeying God's laws. Caracciolus' effectiveness and popularity as a preacher can be explained partly by the clarity of his approach: he makes use of lists, naming, for example, three or four topics--sins, penalties, God's gifts--and then expanding on each one. He also employs the effective rhetorical device of repetition, using such phrases as "Fear God" numerous times in one section. It is easy to imagine other clerics studying his work as much for technique as for content. Our printers have a direct connection with the first press established in Venice. In 1467, the Venetian Senate granted a printing monopoly lasting five years to Johannes Emericus de Spira, who was not able to use this to much advantage, as he died while printing his fourth book. That production was finished by his brother Vindelinus, who continued the business in an active way through 1472, but then his output tailed off abruptly. The three fonts of type the brothers had used--including the earliest gothic face employed in Venice--then came into the possession of our printers, for whom the surviving brother had already printed some books on commission and for whom he probably worked until 1476. The two Johanneses were extremely active printers, producing more than 60 books between 1474 and 1480. This second edition of "Sermones" is both early and scarce. According to Goff, it is the rarest of the 15th century sermon collections of Caracciolus, and only one other book by him was completed before the year of this publication. All copies of the first and second editions are rare in the marketplace: since 1975, ABPC records, besides the present volume, just one copy of the first edition of 1471 and one of our second, both in 19th century bindings.
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2013-07-20           Check availability:      Biblio    


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