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Caramuelis Dominicus: hoc est, venerabilis P. Dominici a Jesu-Maria, Parthenii ordinis Carmelit. excalceat. generalis, virtutes, labores, prodigia, ecstases et revelationes
Vienna: Matthias Cosmerovius, 1655. Hardcover. Very Good. Folio [30 cm x 19.5 cm]. (19) ff including engraved frontispiece and 2 full-page engraved plates, 615 pp, (22) ff. Bound in contemporary stiff vellum with manuscript title on spine. Boards slightly bowed, two ex-libris stamps on half title, one or two leaves slightly toned, otherwise very clean and fresh, a very good copy. Exceedingly rare first and sole edition of this luxurious illustrated biography of Domingo de Jesús María (1559-1630), fifth General of the Discalced Carmelites. Composed by the great Spanish polymath Juan de Caramuel y Lobkowitz at the express behest of his Imperial employers, the work offers an over-the-top example of Hapsburg court hagiography, giving an exhaustive account of Domingo's life in a daunting 1129 numbered episodes, all thoroughly indexed! The work is an anomaly in the oeuvre of the polymath Caramuel, who was more at home in a diverse array of technical subjects, from architecture to cryptography to the logarithm, as he enumerates on the title-page, and whose reputation as a 17th c polymath was second only to Kircher. The work thus shows how holders of Imperial appointments, like Kepler in the preceding generation, were subject to the beck and call of the Emperor and his family and their religious or political interests. Domingo, who is illustrated in the present work clutching a crucifix at the head of the Imperial army in 1620, was a strident Counter-Reformation figure well known for his apostolic zeal --he co-founded the Propaganda Fide--, as well his precocious ability to work miracles, allegedly beginning in early childhood. The 615 folio pages cover Domingo's life from his childhood in Zaragoza to his death in Vienna in 1630, giving an almost day-by-day account of his activities. In addition to the annalistic episodes mentioned above, there is a 40-page dossier of relevant documents and correspondence. According to Dino Pastine, "Caramuel was forced into the composition of this kind of panegyric by pressure from the Imperial family, particularly from the widowed Emperess Eleonora Gonzaga, who was said to have been miraculously cured several times by Domingo". For his own part, the scientifically-minded Caramuel is cautious in reporting the numerous miracles attributed to Domingo, which ranged from personal visitations from St. James and Christ himself to the triumph of the Imperial troops against the Protestants at the Battle of the White Mountain (as illustrated on the engraved plate). The work is accompanied by a complex allegorical frontispiece depicting an annunciation in which the light (eg salvation) of Christ is transmitted across the zodiac to earth. The frontispiece is reminiscent of similar engraved titles by Kircher or other Jesuit optics titles, though we have not located a specific source. The Caramuelis Dominicus is rare, particularly for a work by Lobkowitz: OCLC shows no US copy, while VD17 records just 2 German copies. *VD17 12:106987Q; cf also Pastine, Juan Caramuel: Probabilismo ed Enciclopedia, pp. 112-3 (Florence, 1975)
      [Bookseller: Martayan Lan, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2013-07-31           Check availability:      Biblio    


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