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Lettere spirituali. Scritte da me Fra N. da N. Sacerdote Capuccino a diverse Persone di varii Stati e Conditioni, tanto Religiose, quanto Secolari, tanto Nobili, quanto Ignobili. Libro primo
Scritte nel nostro Monasterio di Conegliano,, 1693. 4to (201 x 154 mm). Collation: pi1 [1-19]8 (+- 19/1); 20-238 248 (24/8+1). 194 leaves, in 2 parts, foliated [1], 1-151, [1 blank]; 1-41 (f. 16 blank but foliated). Written in brown ink in a very small, neat calligraphic hand, imitating roman type, 41 lines plus headlines (part 1), between vertical and horizontal blind ruling, 161 x 113 mm., table to Part 1 in a slightly larger italic script; part 2 lettering and page space slightly larger (33 lines plus headlines, pages ruled in blind, 161 x 121 mm.), but apparently all by the same hand. Catchwords on every recto. two full-page pen-and-ink drawings, on title verso, Crucifixion, within narrow floral border or carnations and other semi-realistic flowers, and part 2, f. 32v, the Trinity within central oval cartouche set within an elaborate and dense border of flowers and birds, including four roundels set within abstract blossoms, the two at top with the IHS monogram and the two at bottom with the Marian MRA monogram. 237 pen-and-ink ornamental capital initials: each of the 185 Lettere in part 1 opening with a 9-line roman initial on a densely decorated ground (33/34 mm.); part 2 with 52 similar 9-line initials (some 45 mm.); numerous tail-pieces of vases with flowers. Wormtrack in upper blank margin of first 3 leaves, some showthrough of initials throughout, about 5 initials with small holes from acidic ink. Contemporary parchment over semi-flexible pasteboards, edges red-sprinkled, covers with ms. note anno 1693 and old ink jottings and inkstains, endpapers with contemporary ms. arithmetical (?) calculations. *** An illustrated manuscript collection of 185 calligraphically transcribed letters from an unnamed Capuchin friar to dozens of equally anonymous men and women from every walk of society; with a second part containing various spiritual exercises and prayers. The manuscript is written in lettering imitating roman type, ranging from minuscule to small, and is decorated with over 200 roman capitals on densely ornamented grounds, and two full-page drawings, all apparently the work of the calligrapher. Founded in 1589, the monastery at Conegliano (north of Treviso) was known as an important novitiate community, and as a center of excellent preachers. The writer of these letters exercised his preaching skills in writing, each letter being a pious exhortation to a fellow cleric or to a layperson, including many women, as stated in the drop-title on p. 1 ("Scritte d me ... a diverse Persone di varij stati e conditioni, tanto Religiose, quanto Secolari, tanto Nobili, quanto Ignobili"). His correspondents include a newly ordained monk, a merchant, a timid young nun who doubts her importance to God, a jaded priest who feels no spiritual consolation when performing Mass, a "devout soul" who would like to know where Jesus went after the Resurrection, a capuchin father recently liberated from Turkish slavery, a fellow monk who wishes to know the writer's relationship with his body, a man who has just lost his father, another who has lost his mother, a gentlewoman from Padua who seeks consolation after the death of her son, another gentlewoman who loves her only son too much, a gentleman who suffers from podagra, a Capuchin missionary in Sudan, a sick nun, a fellow debauched young man who has lost both his parents, and so on. The second part, written in the same hand but in slightly larger scripts, includes spiritual exercises for preparing oneself for death, "composed by one of our devout Capuchin Fathers," followed by daily prayer practices, as taught by Jesus, and formulated as dialogues between Jesus and the soul, and the Testament of St. Carlo Borromeo. This section concludes with a colophon, "Roma, Nella Stamperia della Reverenda Camera Apostolica, 1694." In spite of the colophon and the writer / calligrapher's deliberate imitation of a printed text, I locate no printed editions of or even resembling this text.
      [Bookseller: Musinsky Rare Books, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2018-02-17           Check availability:      Biblio    


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