A discussion of interesting books from my current stock A site


April 2013

some English Catholic Histories

By way of a few forceable legislative acts made between 1633 and 1634 the Catholic Church in England and Wales,  was abolished by  King Henry VIII . Under the Reign of Henry’s daughter Mary 1553-1558, Catholicism was reinstated and supported  while  Protestants were tortured and burned. On the crowning of Elizabeth, The separation from Rome and the Pope was reinstated.  In  february 1570, the Pope Pius V, declared Elizabeth a Heretic and a ‘pretend queen”. Elizabeth responded by “Catholicism (along with other non-established churches) continued in England, although it was at times subject to various forms of persecution. The act of being a Jesuit or seminarian was made treasonable in 1571. “It was now treason to belong to a particular category of person, a remarkable extension of the law.” [ Cullen Murphy GOD’S JURY: THE INQUISITION AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN WORLD (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012) 194.] Priests found celebrating Mass were often drawn and quartered rather than burned at the stake. [ibid] Most recusant members (except those in diaspora and in heavily Catholic areas in the north, or part of the aristocracy) practiced their faith in private for all practical purposes until the Pope recognized the English Monarchy as lawful in 1766.

Due to this persecution, English Catholics established the English College in Rome, the English College in Douai, the English College at Valladolid in Spain,  and at the English College in Seville, The Colleges of St Omer,  These institutions by there inception were subversive, And The books printed at these colleges always promise to be interesting.

 Here are there books, which fit into this category!

313G  Wilson, John.   1575-1645   The English martyrologe conteyning a summary of the liues of the glorious and renowned saintes of the three kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Collected and distributed into moneths, after the forme of a calendar, according to euery saintes festiuity. VVherunto i annexed in the end a catalogue of those, who haue suffered death in England for defence of the catalogus_image-1.phpCatholicke cause, since King Henry the 8. his breach with the Sea Apostolicke, vnto this day. By a Catholicke priest.

[Saint-Omer]:Printed at the English College Press] Permissu superiorum,1608                            $2,800

Octavo, .  First Edition  *  A-Z8.( Lacking Aa1-7)

This copy is bound in  later blind ruled calf ,paper age-toned, marg. damp staining, minor worming in blank bottom margin.    This is a copy is lacking the final quire , which is “A catalogue of those vvho haue suffered death in England, for defence of the Catholicke cause, synce the yeare of Christ 1535 .. vnto this yeare 1608” (a different text from STC 26000.8),  Aa1-7. found at the end of a number of copies .I wonder if this was done in copies for protestants?

I.W. [attributed to John Wilson and also to John Watson Attributed to John Watson by some authorities. cf. Brit. mus. Cataglogue, Lowndes, Watts, Allibone, Stonehill. Also attributed to John Wilson. cf. Halkett and Laing, new and rev. ed.]  (I will go with the ESTC and call him,Wilson) Wilson was an English Catholic priest living abroad in the first half of the 17th century. His English Martyrologe (first published in 1608) deals with those who died for their faith up until about the end of the middle ages (though most of those listed date from the first millenium A.D.). Consequently,there are no Jesuits in here, but it is tangentially relevant, as having apparently sparked the anonymous “The Fierie Tryall of Gods Saints;-These Suffered for the witnes of Iesus and for the word of God vnder Queene Mary … As a Counter-poyze to I. W. Priest his English Martyrologe . And the detestable ends of Popish Traytors … set down in a comparative Collection of both their sufferings, etc.

Wilson,set up the Press at Saint Omers The English Jesuits: From Campion to Martindale By SJ Basset, Bernard

John Wilson published in 1608 in St Omer his own  The English martyrologe conteyning a summary of the lives of the glorious and renowned saintes of the three Kingdomes, England, Scotland and Ireland. This influential publication was organised according to a chronological rather than geographical structure, addressing for one period the saints of the ‘three kingdoms’ together, and including many Welsh examples. This illustrates the Catholic impulse to cross boundaries and represent the Church as trans-national, multi-ethnic and cross-cultural, a tendency which was underpinned and strengthened by the extensive use writers made of the Venerable Bede and of established narratives of origins such as The history of the church of Englande.
{Highley, Christopher, Catholics Writing the Nation in Early Modern Britain and Ireland. Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2008}

STC (2nd ed.), 25771;ESTC S120085. Allison/Rogers II:806. Labarre 26.

DSC_0035841F  Smith, Richard.   1568-1655

Florum historiae ecclesiasticae gentis anglorum libri septem, ex quibus dulcissimum mel catholicae religionis,Eiusque admirabiles… fructus colliguntur, collectore Richardo Smitheo episcopo Chalcedonense.  His adjuncta est epistola ejusdem ad Jacobum regem de mutuis officiis inter summos pontifices et M. Britanniae reges.             

Parisiis: Apud Federicum Leonard, In Collegio Regio. 1654.  $2,900

Folio, .  First edition  ã4A-3H4  This copy is bound in contemporary calf and has been rebacked. It has the bookplate of Joseph Gillow. Gillow’s  greatest achievement was the Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics (5 vols, 1885-1902). Unfortunately, to fit his material into the five volumes allotted him by his publishers, Gillow needed to abbreviate the later volumes.

Richard Smith (1568 1655) served as Bishop of Calcedon from 1624 1632 and was second Vicar Apostolic of England. He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, where he became a Catholic. He was admitted to the English College, Rome, in 1586, studied under Bellarmine, and was ordained priest 7 May 1592. In Feb., 1593, he arrived at Valladolid, where he took the degree of Doctor of Theology, and taught philosophy at the English College till 1598, when he went to Seville as a professor of controversies. In 1603 he went on the English mission, where he made his mark as a missioner. Chosen to represent the case of the secular clergy in the archpriest controversy, he went to Rome, where he opposed Persons, who said of him: “I never dealt with any man in my life more heady and resolute in his opinions”. In 1613 he became superior of the small body of English secular priests at Arras College, Paris, who devoted themselves to controversial work. In 1625 he was elected to succeed Dr. Bishop as vicar Apostolic, but the date usually assigned for his consecration as Bishop of Chalcedon (12 Jan., 1625) must be wrong, as he was not elected till 2 Jan. He arrived in England in April, of the same year, residing in Lord Montagu’s house at Turvey, Bedfordshire. As vicar Apostolic he came into conflict with the regulars, claiming the rights of an ordinary, but Urban VIII decided (16 Dec., 1627) that he was not an ordinary. In 1628 the Government issued a proclamation for his arrest, and in 1631 he withdrew to Paris, where he lived with Richelieu till the cardinal’s death in 1642; then he retired to the convent of the English Augustinian nuns, where he died. Florum Historiae Ecclesiasticae gentis Anglorum libri septem (An Ecclesiastical History of the English People) was to be his last work, a religious history of England from the Catholic perspective. Smith had a clear precedent in Bede’s eighth-century exposition of the differences between Roman and Celtic Catholicism in his Historia Ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, sharing a clear polemical and didactic purpose of configuring the gens Anglorum as God’s new chosen people (with salvation, of course, being reserved for Smith’s Catholic coreligionists).

Smith was certainly a controversial figure and his appointment as Bishop and subsequent fears of encroaching claims of ecclesiastical jurisdiction provided the subject of “the only known private English Catholic allegorical play of the seventeenth century”   a manuscript drama written ca. 1630 discovered at the English College in Rome (where Smith had once studied) that draws on the controversy surrounding Gregory XV’s appointment of Smith as overseer of the English Catholics and records the resistance of the Jesuits, Benedictines, Dominicans, and their sympathizers among the gentry to the perceived intrusion of Smith’s episcopal authority. Many unpublished documents relating to his troubled episcopate (an impartial history of which yet remains to be written) are preserved in the Westminster Diocesan Archives.

Gillet, C.R. McAlpin Coll., II, p. 93; BM, 224, col. 660; BN, 174, col. 360; Clancy, T.H. Engl. Catholic books,; 1453X

dsc_01212271G    Campion, Edmund.  1540-1581     and  Harpsfield, Nicholas, 1519-1575. Gibbons, Richard,; 1550?-1632.  Speed, John,; 1552?-1629.    

Historia Anglicana ecclesiastica : a primis gentis susceptae fidei incunabulis ad nostra fere tempora deducta, et in quindecim centurias distributa.

Duaci : Sumptibus Marci Wyon, Typographi Iurati, sub signo Phoenicis, 1622


Folio, 332 X 210 mm .   a4, e4, i4, A-4Z4, 5A-5E4. This copy is bound in original full vellum.

Shortly after dawn on July 18, 1581, the cry went out: “I have found the traitors!” With a crowbar the false wall at the head of the stairs was torn away, revealing the huddled figures of Edmund Campion and two companions, three priests lately returned to their native England to minister to those resisting the oppression from the new English Church. Their discovery set them upon the path to martyrdom.

Edmund Campion was born on January 25, 1540 into an England of religious and social upheaval. Protestantism had usurped the Catholic Church as the spiritual authority; the dissolution of monasteries and the suppression of Catholic beliefs and believers intensified as land-hungry nobles and men of power continued, in the name of the young, sickly Edward VI, the transformation begun by Henry VIII.   Campion was 13 and the most promising scholar at Christ’s Hospital school in London when he was chosen to read an address to Mary Tudor upon her arrival in London as queen in 1553. Campion received a scholarship to Oxford at age 15, and, by the time Elizabeth rose to power (“restoring” Protestantism as the national religion) upon Mary’s death in 1558, he was already a junior fellow.

At Oxford Campion’s erudition, charisma, and charm gained him noteriety; his students even imitated his mannerisms and style of dress. Queen Elizabeth visited in 1566 and for her entertainment was treated to academic displays. Campion, the star of the show, single-handedly debated four other scholars and so impressed the queen that she promised the patronage of her advisor (and one of the principal architects of the Reformation in England) William Cecil, who referred to Campion as the “diamond of England.”

It was the hope of the crown that Campion would become a defender of the new faith which, though favored by the temporal power, lacked learned apologists. Yet even as he was ordained to the Anglican diaconate, he was being swayed toward Rome, influenced in great part by older friends with Catholic sympathies. In 1569 he journeyed to Dublin, where he composed his <History of Ireland>. At this point Campion was at the summit of his powers. He could have risen to the highest levels of fame had he stayed his course. But this was not to be. By the time Campion left Ireland, he knew he could not remain a Protestant.

Campion’s Catholic leanings were well-publicized, and he found the atmosphere hostile upon his return to England in 1571. He went abroad to Douay in France, where he was reconciled with the Church and decided to enter the Society of Jesus. He made a pilgrimmage to Rome and journeyed to Prague, where he lived and taught for six years and in 1578 was ordained a Jesuit priest.

In 1580 he was called by superiors to join fellow Jesuit Robert Parsons in leading a mission to England. He accepted the assignment joyfully, but everyone was aware of the dangers. The night before his departure from Prague, one of the Jesuit fathers wrote over Campion’s door, “<P. Edmundus Campianus, Martyr.>”

Campion crossed the English Channel as “Mr. Edmunds,” a jewel dealer. His mission was nearly a short one: At Dover a search was underway for Gabriel Allen, another English Catholic expatriate who was rumored to be returning to England to visit family. Apparently Allen’s description fit Campion also, and he was detained by the mayor of Dover, who planned to send Campion to London. Inexplicably, while waiting for horses for the journey, the mayor changed his mind, and sent “Mr. Edmunds” on his way.

Upon reaching London, Campion composed his “Challenge to the Privy Council,” a statement of his mission and an invitation to engage in theological debate (see “Classic Apologetics” in this issue). Copies spread quickly, and several replies to the “Challenge” were published by Protestant writers, who attached to it a derogatory title, “Campion’s Brag,” by which it is best known today.

The power and sincerity of the “Brag” is accompanied by a degree of naivete: Campion’s statement of purpose was of no value during his later trial for treason, and the challenge to debate, repeated later in his apologetic work <Decem  Rationes>, was as much an invitation to capture. And his capture seemed almost inevitable: Elizabeth had spies everywhere searching for priests, the most sought after of whom being her former “diamond of England.”  Campion and his companions traveled stealthily through the English countryside in the early summer of 1581, relying on old, landed Catholic families as hosts. They said Mass, heard confession, performed baptisms and marriages, and preached words of encouragement to a people who represented the last generation to confess the faith of a Catholic England.

There were close calls. Many homes had hiding places for priests some even had secret chapels and confessionals and the Jesuits had to rely on these more than once. Campion took extraordinary risks, never able to turn down a request to preach or administer the sacraments, and more than once he escaped detection while in a public setting.

His fortune changed while visiting the home of Francis Yate in Lyford Grange, which was west of London. Yate was a Catholic imprisoned for his faith who had repeatedly asked for one of the Jesuit fathers to tend to the spiritual needs of his household. Though it was out of the way and the queen’s searchers were reportedly in hot pursuit, Campion was unable to resist the request.

He traveled to Lyford, heard confessions, preached well into the night, and departed without difficulty after saying Mass at dawn. Some nuns visiting the home shortly thereafter were upset to hear they had just missed Campion, and so riders were dispatched to pursuade him to return, which he did. Word of his return reached George Eliot, born and regarded as Catholic but in fact a turncoat in the pay of the queen; he had a general commission to hunt down and arrest priests. Eliot arrived at Lyford with David Jenkins, another searcher, and attended a Mass. He was greatly outnumbered by the Catholics, and, fearing resistance, made no move to arrest Campion. He departed abruptly to fetch the local magistrate and a small militia and returned to the Yate property during dinner. News of the approaching party reached the house, and Campion and his two priestly companions were safely squirreled away in a narrow cell prepared especially for that purpose, with food and drink for three days.

Later Eliot and Jenkins both claimed to have discovered the priests, offering the same story: A strip of light breaking through a gap in the wall leading to the hiding place was the giveaway both men took credit for noticing it, and each reported being the one to break through the wall. No doubt each sought the credit for capturing the infamous Campion, for no priest was more beloved by the Catholics nor more despised by the crown.

Campion was taken to the Tower and tortured. Several times he was forced to engage in debates, without benefit of notes or references and still weak and disoriented from his rackings and beatings. He acquited himself admirably, all things considered: a testament to his unparalled rhetorical skills.

His trial was a farce. Witnesses were bribed, false evidence produced; in truth, the outcome had been determined since his arrival. Campion was eloquent and persuasive to the last, dominating the entire procedure with the force of his logic and his knowledge of the Scripture and law, but in vain. He and his priestly and lay companions were convicted of treason on November 14 and were sentenced to death. His address to the court upon sentencing invoked the Catholic England for which he had fought, the Catholic England which was about to die: “In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors all the ancient priests, bishops and kings all that was once the glory of England.”

On December 1,1581 the prophecy hanging over his door in Prague was fulfilled: Campion was hanged, drawn, and quartered. The poet Henry Walpole was there, and during the quartering some blood from Campion’s entrails splashed on his coat. Walpole was profoundly changed. He went overseas, took orders, and 13 years later met his own martyrdom on English soil. Campion was beatified by Leo XIII in 1886.  Quoted from   Todd M. Aglialoro .

“Historia Wicleffiana eivsdem avctoris”: p. [661]-732./ “Catalogus. Ex Anglico Ioannis Speed Latinva, in quo suo uno aspectu videre est omnium tum monasteriorum …” p. 741-779.


Beard-haters, face-painters and eyebrow-abusers: the dangerous fashions of “Man transform’d, or, The artificial changeling” (1653)

Special Collections and Archives / Casgliadau Arbennig ac Archifau

P1190836Those of us who have been left bemused by the sudden rise of high-street botox booths, tanning shops, nail salons and eyebrow bars can take some comfort from this curious work by John Bulwer which suggests that, even as far back in 1653, people have always been astonished at the lengths to which some would go to transform their bodies in the name of fashion.  

P1190832In Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transform’d, or The Artificial Changeling, Bulwer’s aim, according to the full title, is to expose the “mad and cruel gallantry, foolish bravery, ridiculous beauty, filthy fineness, and loathsome loveliness of most nations, fashioning & altering their bodies from the mould intended by nature”.  Bulwer describes in detail how people around the world artificially modify their appearance, noting that every nation has a “particular whimzey as touching corporall fashions of their own invention.”

The book is divided into 23 sections covering all types of…

View original post 168 more words

As always within human sciences the way we categorize things determine what those things are. In archaeology it is called contextualization, in order to see the forest for the trees, sometimes it is necessary to take a step back from the obvious and look for instead the strange or to decontextualize. Stephen J Gould once told me he looks for the” logic of mistakes when he reads”. “mostly in order to not make them again” I think that some times these mistakes are completely the result of askew parallax. When I try and think back to 1594, the context is so fragmented, partly due to  the nature of information we have from then and partly because there is no way to deal with the enormity of the information we have.  It takes time,, more time that anyone can have. History presses on. We try and hook onto it, and I think that there is a necessity for chance, to get us moving. I find a new book, one i’ve never seen before and it brings me somewhere…. new

On December 27 December 1594, Jean Chastell, who was about 19 years old and ‘Jesuit educated’ at the College of Clermont ,some how snuck into the bed chamber of  King Henry IV’s mistress in Paris. Henry was there and Chastell tried to stab him in the stomach,but he missed as the Kind was bending down and instead stabbed him in the mouth. On December 29 Chastell was brought before the Parliament of Paris. Chastell, confessed and when asked about his motivations he confirmed that he was inspired by the Jesuit father Jean Gueret. Parliament condemned Chastell to death, to be executed later that day. (fast justice indeed) They also ordered the Jesuits to leave France within two days. The Parliament further stated that any Frenchman who sent his child to a Jesuit College (even out side of France) was guilty of treason.  Father Gueret was executed on January 7th.

The importance of the justification or regicide by the Jesuits was not missed by John Donne, who in His Pseudo Martyr (1610) sides with The Parliament of Paris, in fact referring to this case.

312G  Boucher, Jean.  1589-1610  catalogus_image.php

Apologie povr Iehan Chastel Parisien, execvte a morte: et povr les peres & escholliers, de la Societé de Iesvs, bannis du royaume de France. Contre l’arrest de Parlement, donné contre eux a Paris, le 29. Decembre, 1594. Diuisée en cinq parties

[Paris? : s.n.] or  [Low Countries : Louvain ?, Antwerp ?, s.n.], 1595        $3,800

Octavo, .  First Edition A6 B-R8  This copy is bound in the original limp vellum.

This book is an defence of J. Chastel’s failed attempt upon the life of Henri IV in 1594, and of the Jesuits who had approved the attack and who were going to be banished from France.

The French priest J. Boucher, a leading member of the Ligue, urges for a more fortunate re)attempt of the assassination (which eventually happened in 1610). “François Verone” was a pseudonym for Jean Boucher In this book he justifies the attempt by stating that it was ‘right and heroic’ and urges for a new and more successful attempt, which indeed took place in 1610 and provoked the appearance of a second edition of this book. Charles Labitte characterizes this by stating that this murder ‘never has been approved with more scholastic coolness, cold rigour and thirst for blood’

Jesuits were accused of complicity in Jean Chastel’s attempt to assassinate Henry IV on 27 December 1594. Chastel’s actions gave Jesuit opponents just what they needed to achieve their goal of expelling the hated Society. Expelled from most of France by the parlement of Paris and by several other parlements, the Jesuits only  returned when the king granted them clemency.

Backer-Sommervogel,; vol. 11, col. 541, no. 57;Pettegree FB 50702 = NB 5579. BT 377. Adams B-2569. Hauser 3122.

Some times I find these OcLC Subject Headings: interesting.

So this book is French History, A Jesuit Book, Political science, Law (trials) Regicides (John Donne) …

Where does this book go to next.


What is in there? don’t judge a book by its title page?

DSC_0031This is a very common looking book from the outside, it was probably bound in the in the low countries  in the seventeenth century. It doesn’t tell me much more, but that is a start.

Finding and buying books, as a dealer is the most fun part of my day. There are various methods of finding books and these range from being very systematic, to just buying a pile of books that ‘turn up’. There is an old french idiom ” acheter (un) chat en poche”  which becomes the english  don’t “buy a pig in a poke”  Some times it is ok to buy a ‘poche’ of books and it can be fun and  full of good surprizes, other times… not so much. Today I will go through a few books which all reveal the complications of buying books..

The first book I begin with looks promising, it is a sammelbande, always something I like. The first work bound in this Vellum binding is :

Pauli Voet, Gisb. F. Juris in Acad. Ultraject. antecessoris, & Vianensis Cameræ Senatoris, De usu juris civilis et canonici in Belgio unito, deque more promovendi doctores utriusque juris, &c. liber singularis.

Ultrajecti : Ex officina Johannis à Waesberge, anno M D C LVII.

This looks interesting to me, Voet, came from a line of important Jurists and i remember he did something about Private and International law, I’ll look that up later. First I need to see if this book is all there. Collation, this is a process I go through for every book I sell, most books go through the process three times, once before I buy the book, then after i buy the book, and finally when I catalogue the book. I compare ,usually from on line catalogues, the copy in hand to other listed copies, if I am lucky there is a list of the signatures, but most often there is just page counts.

This Voet book collates  *3,A-M8,N6, or by page count [vi], 299 p, I’m assuming the first blank is original. I check with a few copies in google books and internet archives and it is blank indeed.


Which brings us to the next title bound in here, but first a neat little discovery, when I look at the fore edge I see a color change…. maybe these books were bound separately  before this binding?

DSC_0027So now with the next title, Same Author, Different Printer, Different date.

Pauli Voet I. C. Ac Philosophiæ in Academ. Ultraj. Profess. Ordinarii. De Duellis, Licitis & illicitis, Liber singularis.

Ultrajecti [Utrecht] : Ex officina Gisberti à Zyll., MDCXLVI.

So this book was printed 11 years before the  book bound first. , This one looks interesting too Dueling law must have some sort of contemporary applications?


Now for the next collation,  ±4, A-P¹² (lackingQ-Q⁸) R⁴. and page count [6], 384 p. ????

This does not match any copies of this title I can find? The ±4 matches the title  but the rest while on Dueling doesn’t match the collation or page counts of other copies which are [3] Bl., 256 [i.e. 265] S., [2] … So what gives? what book do we have here? The next book bound in here Has no title page…

but  it collates    A-I¹², K-L¹², M³ and the page count is 256 {i.e. 265] [2].  So The title page and 3 preface leaves from the second work goes with the Third book.

So what is book two really? it is on dueling, and I hope by Voet, so lets see if he wrote other books on Duelling.

Yes! he did.

 De Duellis. Ex omni Jure decisis casibus, Liber Singularis, editione iteratâ auctus, & emendatus.

Ultrajecti : Ex officina Johannis à Waesberge, anno M D C LVII

and its page count is [4] Bl., 384. So we are missing a title page it should look like this :

9694833708Where to from here? I need to recap for myself, the first book is ok , complete and , lets see if it is rare?  So about 20 copies world wide.. not rare rare..

The second book  (without the title)

De Duellis. Ex omni Jure decisis casibus, Liber Singularis, editione iteratâ auctus, & emendatus.

also not so rare, and this book is also lacking quire Q.

The third work, of which the title and first 3 leaves  of book two really belong to, is :

Pauli Voet I. C. Ac Philosophiæ in Academ. Ultraj. Profess. Ordinarii. De Duellis, Licitis & illicitis, Liber singularis

Is a little more rare and complete ( though the pages are spread out a bit), none the less it is “(un) chat en poche”

It would make a great teaching example!

324G  Voet, Paul. 1619-1667

Pauli Voet, Gisb. F. Juris in Acad. Ultraject. antecessoris, & Vianensis Cameræ Senatoris, De usu juris civilis et canonici in Belgio unito, deque more promovendi doctores utriusque juris, &c. liber singularis
{Bound with ]
Pauli Voet I. C. Ac Philosophiæ in Academ. Ultraj. Profess. Ordinarii. De Duellis, Licitis & illicitis, Liber singularis1646)
[Bound after ]
 De Duellis. Ex omni Jure decisis casibus, Liber Singularis, editione iteratâ auctus, & emendatus.

Ultrajecti : Ex officina Johannis à Waesberge, anno M D C LVII
Ultrajecti [Utrecht] : Ex officina Gisberti à Zyll., MDCXLVI
Ultrajecti : Ex officina Johannis à Waesberge, anno M D C LVII          $1,900

Three books bound together., .    *3,A-M8,N6
±4, A-P   (lackingQ-Q ) R .
A-I  , K-L  , M   This copy is bound in full contemporary lace cased construction vellum.

Bibliografia del Duello, p. 55.

Orinda!!! Katherine Philips: Her Letters & Her Poems

In my next montly catalogue  Fascicule no VI I will be Listing there Editions of Orinda’s Poems

The Unauthorized very rare edition of 1664 (#717G)

The first Authorized edition of 1667

And the fourth edition of 1678!

It is not usual to find a printed book which gives us such a vivid depiction of the literary world for 17th century women, this is a great book and I am constantly amazed by it.


Please enjoy reading about it.

103gPhilips, Katherine.1631-1664

Letters from Orinda to Poliarchus
 London: printed by W.B. for Bernard Lintott, 1705                       $5,500
Octavo,6.75 X 3.75 inches.  First edition A-R8  Bound in original calf totally un-restored a very nice original condition copy with only some browning, spotting and damp staining, It is a very good copy.

It is housed in a custom Box.


This is a collection of 48 ( XLVIII) actual letters written by Philips to her patron Sir Charles Cotterell published several decades after her death, there is quit a bit of discussion of the literary culture of the seventh century in Britain. Including insite to Philips writing and reading habits. she often mentions books she is reading and plays which she is working on.

The daughter of a London merchant, Katherine Fowler [her maiden name] was probably the first English woman poet to have her work published and the forst woman author to have one of her plays performed for the public. She married a gentleman of substance from Cardigan, James Philips, and seems to have moved effortlessly into the literary circle adorned by Vaughan, Cowley, and Jeremy Taylor. One of her first publications was a commendatory poem to the 1651 edition of Cartwright’s Poems.


117F Cartwright Poems 1651
117F Cartwright Poems 1651

She was best known by her pseudonym  Orinda and the name appears on the collection of her Letters, which give a useful picture of the early seventeenth-century literary world. Her translation of Corneille’s Pompee was performed in Dublin in 1663 and a collection of her verses was published posthumously in 1664.  According to Beal, “Philips appeared in print at least five times during her life time” (p. 155)

Philips was interested in the epistolary form, she founded the Society of Friendship in 1651 until 1661 was a semi-literary correspondence circle made up of mostly women, though men were also involved. The membership of this group, however, is somewhat questionable, because the authors took on pseudonyms from Classical literature (for example Katherine took on the name Orinda, in which the other members added on the accolade “Matchless.”)

It is interesting to see the relations between the female members of the circle, especially Anne Owen, who is known in Philips’s poems as Lucasia.  Half of Katherine’s poetry is dedicated to this woman. Anne and Katherine seem to have been lovers in an emotional, if not in a physical, sense for about ten years. Also significant as correspondents and lovers were Mary Awbrey (Rosania) and Elizabeth Boyle (Celimena). Elizabeth’s relationship with Katherine, however, was cut short by Philips’ death in 1664.

In  “The Sapphic-Platonics of Katherine Philips, 1632-1664”   Harriette Andreadis

Source:Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 15, no. 1 (autumn 1989): 34-60.

Ms Andreadis, in this essay nicely gives a view of Orinda’s live (and Loves) in relation to her writing by using excerpts from her poems andThese letters;

“That these poems were not merely clever exercises in courtly convention by a woman seeking reputation and patronage (as were, perhaps, some of her Restoration poems addressed to royalty) is confirmed by the circumstances of Philips’s life and letters. Born Katherine Fowler, the daughter of a prosperous London cloth merchant, in 1648 she married James Philips, whom she was to call Antenor in keeping with her penchant for devising pseudo-classical names for her intimates. She was sixteen; he was fifty-four. Clearly, in this marriage, probably arranged by her mother, she loved and respected her husband as she was socially and morally bound to do. Yet, clearly also, there was much distance between them in addition to their respective ages. He lived on the remote west coast of Wales at Cardigan Priory, while she was attached to the intellectual and social amenities of London and took, or created, every opportunity to return to literary and court circles. Her politics were also different from his: she remained a royalist like her friends and courtly admirers, while he and her family were parliamentarians. This publicly recognized political difference at least once threatened his political career.19

Antenor’s absence never evoked the same metaphysical anguish in Philips as did that of Rosania or Lucasia; she wrote of him most often in terms of her “duty.” A telling contrast is that between the frequently unrestrained emotion in her many poems lamenting the absence of a female friend20 and the relative coolness of her single poem to Antenor upon his absence and of her descriptions of her “duty” to Sir Charles. On her immanent departure from Ireland and Lucasia, she wrote: “I have now no longer any pretence of Business to detain me, and a Storm must not keep me from Antenor and my Duty, lest I raise a greater within. But oh! that there were no Tempests but those of the Sea for me to suffer in parting with my dear Lucasia!” (Letter 19, 631). This passage succinctly points to a contrast that is apparent throughout Philips’s writing; it juxtaposes, on the one hand, her feelings of obligation to her husband and, on the other, her passion for Lucasia. As to the rest of her immediate family, her son is mentioned only twice in her writings, both times in poems, one of them a particularly dull one about his death at the age of forty-one days; her daughter, who survived her, is never mentioned at all, either in her poems or in her letters.21

Having endured, in 1652, Mary Aubrey’s (Rosania’s) defection from their friendship into marriage, Philips wrote at least one poem on her “apostasy,” and quickly replaced her with Anne Owen (Lucasia).22 In 1662, Anne Owen, too, married, and Orinda despised Owen’s new husband, Marcus Trevor, which added to her grief. Nevertheless, she accompanied the newlyweds to Dublin and stayed on for a year, ostensibly to conduct her husband’s business (he was now in some financial and political distress owing to his parliamentarianism) and to finish Pompey and see it played at the Theatre Royal, Smock Alley, Dublin. She had also begun to develop aristocratic connections: the earl of Orrery offered her encouragement, she frequented the duke of Ormonde’s salon, and she was becoming friendly with the countess of Cork.

She described her feelings to Sir Charles, whose suit to Anne Owen she had unsuccessfully encouraged, presumably in an attempt to keep Anne within her immediate social circle and in close geographical proximity: “I am much surpriz’d that she, who is so well-bred, and her Conversation every way so agreeable, can be so happy with him as she seems to be: for indeed she is nothing but Joy, and never so well pleas’d as in his Company; which makes me conclude, that she is either extremely chang’d, or has more of the dissembling Cunning of our Sex than I thought she had” (Letter 13, 603).23 She wrote repeatedly to Sir Charles of her grief and disappointment, not unmixed with bitterness, at the loss of her bond with Anne Owen. Her grief in these letters is as acute as the passion in the earlier poems is intense. From Dublin on July 30, 1662, she wrote:

I now see by Experience that one may love too much, and offend more by a too fond Sincerity, than by a careless Indifferency, provided it be but handsomly varnish’d over with civil Respect. I find too there are few Friendships in the World Marriage-proof. … We may generally conclude the Marriage of a Friend to be the Funeral of a Friendship. … Sometimes I think it is because we are in truth more ill-natur’d than we really take our selves to be; and more forgetful of past Offices of Friendship, when they are superseded by others of a fresher Date, which carrying with them the Plausibility of more Duty and Religion in the Knot that ties them, we persuade our selves will excuse us if the Heat and Zeal of our former Friendships decline and wear off into Lukewarmness and Indifferency: whereas there is indeed a certain secret Meanness in our Souls, which mercenarily inclines our Affections to those with whom we must necessarily be oblig’d for the most part to converse, and from whom we expect the chiefest outward Conveniencies. And thus we are apt to flatter our selves that we are constant and unchang’d in our Friendship, tho’ we insensibly fall into Coldness and Estrangement.


Her letters to Sir Charles during this period are full of disappointed idealism, of highmindedness scorned. The scale of values Philips holds dear in these letters, and in her poetry, places the noble feelings of disinterested friendship far above the frequently compromised and banal motives of marriage and duty. Nevertheless, her notion of disinterested friendship is driven by intensely passionate commitment to the individual woman in question, so that when, in the usual course of things, her friend marries, she responds as a lover scorned. The feelings she expressed in her letters to Sir Charles concerning the defection of Anne Owen reverberate from the poems she had written ten years earlier on the apostasy of Mary Aubrey:

“Lovely apostate! what was my offence?

Or am I punish’d for obedience?”


For our twin-spirits did so long agree,
You must undoe your self to ruine me.


… Glorious Friendship, whence your honour springs,
Ly’s gasping in the croud of common things;


For from my passion your last rigours grew,
And you kill me, because I worshipp’d you.

Thus Philips reveals a covert, innate rebelliousness; she protests with chagrin Mary Aubrey’s and Anne Owen’s replacement of such romantic sentiments with ones more suitable to the exigencies of social and economic life.

Her last known passionate attachment seems to have been to “Berenice,” whom she knew at least since 1658, when she wrote begging her to come to Cardigan and console her for Lucasia’s absence.24Philips evidently continued her correspondence with “Berenice” after returning from Ireland to her home at Cardigan Priory in Wales because the last letter is dated from there a month before her death in London. The tone of the four letters to “Berenice” is a combination of nearly fawning supplication to a social superior and breathless passion, the two inextricably fused:

All that I can tell you of my Desires to see your Ladiship will be repetition, for I had with as much earnestness as I was capable of, Begg’d it then, and yet have so much of the Beggar in me, that I must redouble that importunity now, and tell you, That I Gasp for you with an impatience that is not to be imagin’d by any Soul wound up to a less concern in Friendship then yours is, and therefore I cannot hope to make others sensible of my vast desires to enjoy you, but I can safely appeal to your own Illustrious Heart, where I am sure of a Court of Equity to relieve me in all the Complaints and Suplications my Friendship can put up.

[Letter 51, 773]25

It is impossible to disentangle the elements of Orinda’s passion for “Berenice,” complicated as their relationship was by social inequality and as our understanding of it is by an absence of any information external to the four letters. However, Philips’s tone in these letters seems desperate beyond any conventional courtliness; she yearns to fill the void left by Lucasia’s absence and, later, rejection.

After her success with Pompey on the Dublin stage, Philips found it difficult to remain immured at the Priory and finally was able to solicit an invitation from her friends, and her husband’s permission, to return to London, where she died of smallpox at the age of thirty-one. A major change had taken place in Philips’s life when the loss of her friendship with Lucasia was coincidentally accompanied by the foundering fortunes of her husband, which she attempted to remedy through her well-placed friends. That she had not succeeded in doing so when she died suggests that the double blow she had suffered left her depressed (as the anxiety in her last letters to Sir Charles shows), weakened, and vulnerable to disease.

After the defection of Lucasia, she wrote no more of the poetry that had won her such high praise; instead, she poured her energies into using her court connections to gain patronage for herself and, probably unsuccessfully, preferment for Antenor. She wrote numerous poems to royalty, self-consciously addressing public themes, and increasingly fewer intimate poems to particular friends. Also, she vied with the male wits for recognition of her theatrical translations, which are still considered the best English versions of Corneille.26 Philips’s immersion in Corneille and the adoption of a more neoclassical style may have been politically expedient in the early 1660s, but at this time in Philips’s life, Corneille’s subordination of personal passion to duty and patriotism in the long speeches that she translated also must have appealed to her own need to control her disordered emotions.27

Her royalist sympathies throughout the Interregnum no doubt now enabled her to advance the interests of her parliamentarian husband as well as her own literary ambitions. Souers comments on the notable change in her poems and in her stance toward literary circles: “The Cult of Friendship may be said to have died with the marriage of its inspirer. All that remained was the empty shell, which, in this case, means the names, so that when, later, poems addressed to new friends appear, it must be kept in mind that the old fire is gone.”28 Souers’s judgment is borne out by the poems Philips addressed to the Boyle sisters, daughters of the countess of Cork, a patron during Philips’s stay in Ireland. Though she attempts to continue, or perhaps to revivify, the traditions of her cult of friendship by bestowing pastoral nicknames, Philips reveals in her later poems the conflict and ambivalence with which more intimate approaches to her social superiors are fraught. She confronts this problem of friendship with aristocratic women directly in “To Celimena” (1662-64), addressed to Lady Elizabeth Boyle; the eight-line poem concludes: “Wouldst thou depose thy Saint into thy Friend? / Equality in friendship is requir’d, / Which here were criminal to be desir’d” (no. 107, 472). Her earlier passionate avowals of friendship have become reverential.2

The full essay is here : %5B(essay date 1989)]



 For a Great Web Page on 17th Century Writing Please see the Luminarium

THERE is lots of wonderful connections to K.P. here…..

Butler, John. “The Life of Katherine Philips.”  Luminarium.15 Apr 2003.  <>


Friendship, Authorship, and Forms of Publication in Katherine Philipsmore


The literary tour-de-force in the tradition of Renaissance paradoxical literature.

Tonight I’ll begin now, where I am or rather what i’m (re) Reading   again and again..

DSC_0031On being blue: a philosophical inquiry


By William Gass is one of my favorite books, “This small but memorable treatise, written “for all who live in the country of the blue,” examines the color as state of mind, as Platonic Ideal, as a notoriously erotic hue, and as a color of our interior life. In a brilliant, extended meditation, Gass mulls over blue in literature and art, dance, music, and the popular press. No shade or variation escapes his engaged and engaging prose or his vertiginous asides. This is a witty, lyrical, highly original, and beautifully written book that demands to be read and redefines the meaning of a “philosophical inquiry.””Not since Herman Melville pondered the whiteness of Moby Dick has a region of the spectrum been subjected to such eclectic scrutiny. . . Gass gives philosophy back its good old name as a feast that can never sate the mind.”—


I read it probably in 1980 or 81 and it lead me to Robert Burtons’ The Anatomy of Melancholy. Not having read much 17th century prose at that time, I was so excited, ” the 17th century IS POST MODERN!!” I exCLAIMED  to Jean Howard, my professor of 17th century literature… and here is why:::: “Il n’y a pas de hors-texte” quote Derrida!

Burton destabilizes Psychology it self 300 years before Lacan castrates Freud!



Burton is by no means a stable ‘Traditional’ Solid subject author, He questions every single criterion of legitimation he encounters, In fact He hovers between reader ,author, editor and critic so ethereally that it is hard to tell if he is on his way to take us out of our own subjective reading at every turn.

Does not Burton inaugurate The crisis identified in Jean-François Lyotard The Postmodern Condition a crisis in the “discourses of the Human Sciences” ?
INDEED He does! it further calls into question literary temporality as an access of recuperation…

MELANCHOLY IS     “That Dangerous Supplement…” which brings us to face the death drive, or the absolute  destruktion (of Heidegger)

Ah Ha! this is where Wm Gass  gets his license to say

“Still, we permit the appearance of our meats, sauces, fruits, and vdgetables to dominate our tongues until it is difficult to divide a twist of lemon or squeeze of lime from the colors of their rinds or separate yellow from its yolk or chocolate from the quenchless brown which seems to be the root, shoot, stalk, and bloom of it. Yet I hardly think the eggplant’s taste is as purple as its skin. In fact, there are few flavors at the violet end, odors either, for the acrid smell of blue smoke is deceiving, as is the tooth of the plum, though there may be just a hint of blue in the higher sauces. Perceptions are always profound, associations deceiving. No watermelon tastes red. Apropos: while waiting for a bus once, I saw open down the arm of a midfat, midlife, freckled woman, suitcase tugging at her hand like a small boy needing to pee, a deep blue crack as wide as any in a Roquefort. Split like paper tearing. She said nothing. Stood. Blue bubbled up in the opening like tar. One thing is certain: a cool flute blue tastes like deep well water drunk from a cup.” 
― William H. GassOn Being Blue

But On Being Blue  ends too fast it is 91 pages of wonder, But next to Burton and his 723 pages, Gass is an Apéritifs to Burton’s Cask!

It is a book everyone should look at! I know that there is an etiquette to Blogging, but I don’t know it (yet maybe) In any case I will go on too long about this book or maybe not, It deserves far more that i can say, write, gesticulate, or quote about…


Nicholas Lezard writes:

The book to end all books

Nicholas Lezard celebrates The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton, a 17th-century compendium of human thought that is funnier than it sounds

“it is not just Burton’s thoughts on the subject of melancholy, but the thoughts of everyone who had ever thought about it, or about other things, whether that be goblins, beauty, the geography of America, digestion, the passions, drink, kissing, jealousy, or scholarship. Burton, you suspect, felt the miseries of scholars keenly. “To say truth, ’tis the common fortune of most scholars to be servile and poor, to complain pitifully, and lay open their wants to their respective patrons… and… for hope of gain to lie, flatter, and with hyperbolical elogiums and commendations to magnify and extol an illiterate unworthy idiot for his excellent virtues, whom they should rather, as Machiavel observes, vilify and rail at downright for his most notorious villainies and vices.” And that’s a good quote to be getting on with: it shows you that Burton is on the side of the angels, that he’s prepared to stick his neck out, and that he is funny.”


The Anatomy of Melancholy

Robert Burton, introduction by William H. Gass

One of the major documents of modern European civilization, Robert Burton’s astounding compendium, a survey of melancholy in all its myriad forms, has invited nothing but superlatives since its publication in the seventeenth century. Lewellyn Powys called it “the greatest work of prose of the greatest period of English prose-writing,” while the celebrated surgeon William Osler declared it the greatest of medical treatises. And Dr. Johnson, Boswell reports, said it was the only book that he rose early in the morning to read with pleasure. In this surprisingly compact and elegant new edition, Burton’s spectacular verbal labyrinth is sure to delight, instruct, and divert today’s readers as much as it has those of the past four centuries.


All I can say is that most modern books weary me, but Burton never does…His writing is like talk, learned but earthy, and once he starts, he is hard to stop…That he was a humorist in our sense of the word we need no biographical facts to attest: The Anatomy of Melancholy is, by a magnificent and somehow very English irony, one of the great comic works of the world.
— Anthony Burgess

No prose writer—ever—has been more of a universe than Robert Burton, self-curing author of The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), an essay on the humors that went utterly out of control and became the craziest, best entertainment ever written in English—far more important than the King James Bible in terms of effect on alpha—class letters.
— William Monahan, Bookforum


DSC_0027319G  Burton, Robert.   1577-1640

 The Anatomy of Melancholy. What it is, with all the kinds, causes, symptomes, prognostickes, & severall cures of it. In three Partitions, with their severall Sections, members & subsections. Philosophicaly, Medicinally, Historically opened & cut. By Democritus Junior. With a Satyricall Preface conducing to the following Discourse. The fift Edition, corrected and augmented by the Author. Omne tulit punctum qui miscrit utile dulci. 

Oxford: L. Lichfield for H. Cripps, 1638               $5,500

Folio, 11 x 7.2 inches.  Fifth edition.  [π]3, §2, A-K4, A-R4, S6, T-Z4, Aa-Hh4, Ii6, Kk4-Zz4, Aaaa-Eeee4, Ffff2, Gggg-Zzzz4, Aaaaa4.

This edition  has the charming  pictorial  engraved title-page by C. Le Blon, which depicts types of melancholy.  The edition also contains the “Argument of the frontispiece” leaf, quite often lacking. This copy is bound in modern full calf, . Some very light browning, occasional spotting, but overall a really nice copy with ample margins.

Burton’s classic study of depression, The Anatomy of Melancholy, “has been more frequently reprinted than almost any other psychiatric text, appearing in over seventy editions since its original publication. Burton believed depression to be both a physical and spiritual ailment. Prompted by his own bouts with the affliction, he employed his considerable erudition and wit to write what amounts to the first psychiatric encyclopedia, citing nearly 500 medical authors in the course of classifying the myriad causes, forms and symptoms of depression, and describing its various cures. The work is also a literary tour-de-force in the tradition of Renaissance paradoxical literature.” (Norman)

“Burton had read much, and all that he had read, or nearly all, was refined and incorporated into The Anatomy. The whole book is elaborately divided and subdivided into partitions, divisions, sections, members and sub-sections. The first partition is devoted to the definition of his subject and its species and kinds, the causes of it, and—at length—the symptoms: ‘for the Tower of Babel never yielded such confusion of Tongues as the Chaos of Melancholy doth of Symptoms.’ The second deals with the cure, and Burton’s demonstration that it is necessary to live in the right part of the world to avoid melancholy occasions a long digression: a delightful account of foreign lands based—for Burton never travelled—on a wide reading of the cosmographers, and a powerful advocacy of the delights of country life. The third part deals with the more frivolous kinds of melancholy and the fourth with the serious, Religious Melancholy, with some moving reflections on the ‘Cure of Despair.’ The Anatomy was one of the most popular books of the seventeenth century. All the learning of the age as well as its humour—and its pedantry—are there.” (Printing & the Mind of Man)



As Osler notes, “this edition has the distinction – possibly unique for any book – of having been printed piecemeal in three cities.” According to Madan, pages 1-346 were actually printed at Edinburgh but that the Scottish edition was suppressed at the insistence of the Oxford printers, who then agreed to incorporate the pirated pages in the present edition; some 68 leaves, incorporating Burton’s latest changes, were actually reprinted in London. For an account of the printing history of this edition see further Oxford Bib. Soc. Proceedings & Papers I (1922-6), pp. 194-7.
Garrison-Morton 4908.1; Grolier, English, 18; Hunter & Macalpine, pp. 94-99; Jordan-Smith 5; STC 4163; Madan, Oxford books II # 881.

“Melancholy, the subject of our present discourse, is either in disposition or in habit. In disposition, is that transitory Melancholy which goes and comes upon every small occasion of sorrow, need, sickness, trouble, fear, grief, passion, or perturbation of the mind, any manner of care, discontent, or thought, which causes anguish, dulness, heaviness and vexation of spirit, any ways opposite to pleasure, mirth, joy, delight, causing forwardness in us, or a dislike. In which equivocal and improper sense, we call him melancholy, that is dull, sad, sour, lumpish, ill-disposed, solitary, any way moved, or displeased. And from these melancholy dispositions no man living is free, no Stoick, none so wise, none so happy, none so patient, so generous, so godly, so divine, that can vindicate himself; so well-composed, but more or less, some time or other, he feels the smart of it. Melancholy in this sense is the character of Mortality… This Melancholy of which we are to treat, is a habit, a serious ailment, a settled humour, as Aurelianus and others call it, not errant, but fixed: and as it was long increasing, so, now being (pleasant or painful) grown to a habit, it will hardly be removed.”






Further a great proximity to The anatomy::;


Burton’s Melancholy

It’s hard to imagine from that unwieldy title page that the book published by Robert Burton in 1621 would become a revolutionary best-seller.   Divided into three parts, The Anatomy of Melancholy was intended to provide a serious overview of a subject that had been largely neglected up to that time.  In his book, Burton avoided providing a precise definition of melancholy (depression) which he felt would “exceed the power of man”.   He also stated that “the letters of the alphabet makes no more variety of words in divers languages” than the various symptoms that melancholy could produce in serious sufferers.    He considered melancholy to be a universal illness (“Who is free from melancholy? Who is not touched more or less in habit or disposition?” No man living is wholly free, no stoic, none so wise, none so happy, none so patient, so generous, so godly, so divine that he does not at some time or other experience its transitory forms. No other misery is so widespread”).

Robert Burton was certainly qualified to write the book.   Born in Leicestershire in 1577, he studied at Christ Church, Oxford and was appointed a vicar in 1616.  Despite having a diverse range of interests, including mathematics and astrology, he also devoted much of his time to the serious study of melancholy.  By all accounts, Robert Burton suffered from frequent episodes of lifelong depression although actual clinical details are lacking.  Hewas one of nine children and his early childhood was apparently an unhappy one.  There also seems to be a family history of melancholy as well since his uncle, Anthony Faunt, died following a “passion of melancholy” in 1588.  Despite being a brilliant student, Burton’s academic career was marked by long periods during which his studies were interrupted.  He finally graduated from Christ Church at the age of twenty-six (nineteen or twenty would have been more typical).  Although the gaps in his education are unaccounted for, his lifelong depression seems to be the most obvious explanation.

There is still little known about Burton’s private life aside from a few anecdotal accounts.   He never married and he socialized infrequently although he spent his entire academic life at Oxford.    While he was frequently depressed, he was also known as “very merry, facete, and juvenile,” and a person of “great honesty, plain dealing, and charity.” He also loved gardening as well as reading in his chambers at Oxford which were “sweetened with the smell of jupiter (incense)”  While he hardly ever travelled, he was an avid cartographer and, in virtual fashion, explored much of the world. Despite being a scholar his entire life, Burton was extremely cynical about his  fellow academics and academia in general.  His reclusive nature didn’t prevent him from being well-regarded by his colleagues and he received prestigious appointments to vicar positions at Oxford and Leicester.    Burton also published various Latin verses as well as works in mathematics and a satirical play in  when which was well received when it was produced in 1617.

It was The Anatomy of Melancholy which made Robert Burton a success though.  Written when the author was in his late forties,  the book had a boisterous tone which antagonized many critics (one of whom dismissed it as “an enormous labyrinthine joke”).   Serious reviewers were also likely put off by the “phantastical title” which Burton had included to attract “silly passengers that will not look at a judicious piece”.   Beginning with the “satyical preface”  that vigourously attacked many of the prevailing views on melancholy, the book quickly led into discussing the topic in earnest.  The first part of the book was dedicated to discussing the causes, symptoms, and prognosis of melancholy, the second part was dedicated to treatment, and the third part focused on the melancholy often associated with love or religion.  Filled with an astounding number of  anecdotes and quotations (including quotations by hundreds of medical writers, theologians, classical writers, historians, and poets) , readers of the book often found Burton’s reasoning to be hard to fathom (I certainly did).   It likely doesn’t help that up to a fifth of the book is in Latin and Burton also used  numerous obscure terms that often mystify modern readers (including words like “stramineous”, “obtretration”, and “amphibological”).

Burton’s theories on melancholy reflected much of the prevailing medical thinking of the time.  Along with attributing the disease to an excess of “black bile” (humour theories were popular at the time), he also suggested that melancholy could be linked to heredity, lack of affection in childhood, and sexual frustration.   Although it was a more credulous era (witches were still being executed for cursing people into madness), Burton avoided supernatural explanations for melancholy.  That’s not to say that he didn’t have his own personal biases though.  He was openly misogynistic and frequently denounced women in general and their “unnatural, insatiable lust” in particular.   Many of his anecdotes focused on the melancholy caused by men pursuing women, material pleasures, and worldly success although he was more cynical than puritanical.   Burton freely admitted that his motivation in writing the book stemmed from his own need to “write of melancholy, by being busy to avoid melancholy.  There is no greater cause of melancholy than idleness, no greater cure than business”.

He originally published the book under the pseudonym of Democritus Junior (Democritus being his favourite Greek philosopher) but Burton’s true identity became known soon enough.  The odd mixture of scholarship, humour, and medical insights was virtually unprecedented in an academic book andAnatomy quickly became one of the most popular books of that era.   Despite the fame and wealth that his book brought to him, Burton’s lifelong melancholy didn’t seem any more manageable as a result.   When he died on January 25, 1640, there were widespread rumours that he had hanged himself in his rooms at Oxford.  Given that Burton had often predicted that he would die when he reached the age of sixty-three, there may be some truth to the rumour.  Considering the harsh punishment for suicidesduring that time (including being buried at a crossroad with a stake through the heart in extreme cases),to the suicide of  a prominent Oxford scholar would have likely been carefully concealed.   Robert Burton was buried in Christ Church cathedral with full honours.  Following Burton’s own instructions, his grave was mared with the following inscription carved under his bust: Paucis Notus Paucioribus Ignotus Hic lacet DEMOCRITUS IUNIOR Cui Vitam Dedit et Mortem Melancholia (“Known to few, unknown to fewer, here lies Democritus Junior, to whom melancholy gave both life and death”).  That the inscription helped reinforce the suicide rumour may well have been unintentional.

Burton’s vast collection of books (more than a thousand volumes) was left to the Oxford University library but it was The Anatomy of Melancholy that was his most lasting contribution.   Although the book fell into neglect just a few decades after Burton’s death, it was frequently cited by later authors – including Samuel Johnson, John Milton, and Laurence Sterne – and came back into popularity by the beginning of the 19th century.  Not only is it considered to be one of the great works of English literature, but it was also one of the first true classics of abnormal psychology.   Digging through Burton’s book may not provide the modern student of psychology with much insight into depression but Robert Burton was definitely a pioneer in his own right.

Link to Anatomy of Melancholy (Project Gutenberg)


Frontispiece for the 1638 edition of The Anato...
Frontispiece for the 1638 edition of The Anatomy of Melancholy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Virgil Solis: Biblische Figuren deß Alten (und Newen) Testaments

Today uploading Images is taking forever, so I don’t have as many images  as this book deserves, really there are 218 woodcuts in here it is hard to choose and the binding is quite nice too! DSC_0022

Virgil Solis  b. 1514, d. 1562 Nuremberg, Germany

Add to Getty Bookmarks  With an output of over 2,000 prints and drawings, Virgil Solis was one of Nuremberg’s most prolific printmakers and book illustrators. His origins and training are unclear, though his father may have been a painter. He became a master in 1539 and often signed himself as a painter, but no evidence of that career exists.
Solis aimed to produce popular, commercially successful prints on many subjects and regularly borrowed figures and compositions from German and Italian masters. His early drawing style employed strong outlines and simple hatching. He made over two hundred woodcuts illustrating biblical stories plus decorative elements, published in eleven editions between 1562 (see the book listed below) and 1606.

Solis also disseminated contemporary ornamental forms to artisans, who often used his prints as models for furniture decoration, architectural friezes, pitchers, bowls, sword scabbards, and jewelry. His mixtures of animal and vegetable forms on drinking vessel designs helped to break many goldsmiths’ strict adherence to classicalmotifs. Solis’s monogram signature came to mean only that prints originated in his workshop, rather than identifying his own designs. Later owners printed his woodblocks and plates well into the 1650s. []


148g    Solis, Virgil.    1514-1562

Biblische Figuren deß Alten (und Newen) Testaments : gantz künstlich gerissen

Frankfurt am Main;  Durch Johannem Wolffium,,1565         $SOLD

Oblong Quarto, 18 x 24 cm.   A-M4 N6  a-p4. There are woodcuts printed one to a page, with Latin captions above and German legends below each cut.There are 102 plates for the Old Testament and 116 For the New Testament.   This copy is bound in contemporary vellum binding with a stamped coat of arms on the front board.

The inclusion of his images in the bible was a common occurance. Images would often be included in bibles to help those that were illiterate ‘read’ through the stories of the bible. The images were often easily recognizable scenes so the lay people who could not read Latin, before the translations were common, were able to know what the writing was about without needing to read the words. But this is by no means a ‘cheap’ or ‘common” book, it is a lavish artistic production.




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A few Really Rare ones, and What is Rare

When I say “really rare” without a modifier, I mean Absolute rarity id est one copy recorded, or no copies listed in  bibliographies, then the modifiers come in, no copy listed in the US, no copy on the Market since 18… et c. Of course there as another category, Unique. While it can be argued (and well) that almost every Early printed book can be unique, The individual divergent qualities of a specific book need fairly obvious, in order for it to be worth duplicating a text.

Recently I have sold a few books with early notes by an early/original owner, whose  notations outnumbered the words in the printed text, in short two books in One!

Today I have a book which (probably at the time of binding), was  augmented by engravings from another book, which fit quite nicely thematically.

But: The physical attributes do not interpret themselves, and thus rely upon comparison, I’ll take us through the steps as I take them.

First, The binding!



DSC_0021 DSC_0022




So; From here i can tell the binding is appropriate for a London book circa 1707, and it doesn’t look as it has been re-backed or re-sewn, that leads me to think we have the book as it came from the first book binder.

Next Opening the book. Provenance!

DSC_0013The easiest decipherable text here on the first endpaper is August 14th 1707 Andrew Vigurs. A quick search finds a will for Andrew Vigurs the younger,of Penzance who died 1748 at 24 years old. NOT Our guy. It is Likely his Father also named Andrew 1660-1731!! Yes  The book passes To Dorinda (his daughter ) January 6th 1731!.[ this is recorded on a rear end page.]



So now into the book. We can see from the title the printer, and the Price, but no Author. A look at the English Short Title Catalogue, gives us a first description of other copie

ESTC System No.
ESTC Citation No.
LinkThe Nature and design of holy-days explained: Or, Short and plain reasons and instructions for the observation of the feasts, and fasts appointed to be kept by the Church of England. Adapted to the meanest capacity.
LinkLondon : Printed by W.B. for Richard Sare at Grays-Inn-Gate in Holborn, 1705.
Physical descr.
[8],102p. ;  12⁰.
General note
Price on title page: Price 6d stitch’d, or 8d Bound.
Microfilm. Woodbridge, Conn. : Primary Source Microfilm, an imprint of Gale Group, 2004. 1 reel ; 35 mm. Unit 421. (The Eighteenth Century ; reel 14703, no. 02).
Corporate subject
LinkChurch of England — Customs and practices — Early works to 1800.
Copies – Brit.Isles
LinkNational Library of Scotland 
LinkOxford University Bodleian Library (includes The Vicar’s Library, ST. Mary’s Church, Marlborough) 
LinkOxford University Corpus Christi College 
Copies – N.America
LinkHarvard University Houghton Library 
Electronic location
Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale Group ; 



From here we get a lot of information, one of the primary descriptions is the page count [8],102p. ;  12⁰. , It matches the text of our book, but ours has 19 engravings? Next it tells us it is rare in libraries in this country, only listing Harvard,and three copies in the UK.

No mention of a frontice even?


Harvard describes their copy thus:

Author :
LinkBuchanan, Cha. (Charles), b. 1660 or 61.
Title :
LinkThe nature and design of holy-days explained, or, Short and plain reasons and instructions for theobservation of the feasts and fasts appointed to be kept by the Church of England : adapted to themeanest capacity.
Published :
London : Printed by W.B. for Richard Sare, at Grays-Inn-Gate in Holborn, 1705.
Location :
Houghton EC7.Eℓ874.734c Library Info
Provenance :
Armorial bookplate of the Earls of Macclesfield: North Library [with ms. shelfmark “13.A.17”].
Copy information :
Bound with Elwall, Edward, 1676-1744. A declaration against all the kings and temporal powers under heaven (London, 1734) and Beverland, Adriaan, 1654?-1712. De fornicatione cavenda (Augustae [i.e. London], 1697).
Description :
[8],102 p. ; 16 cm. (12mo)
Notes :
Dedication signed: Cha. Buchanan
W.B.=William Bowyer, the elder.
Signatures: A⁴ (-A4, A1+chi1) B-I⁸/⁴ K⁴ (-K4).
References :
ESTC T170660
Subject :
LinkChurch of England — Customs and practices.
Subject :
LinkFasts and feasts — England — Early works to 1800.
HOLLIS Number :

This gives a collation which matches this copy but again excepting the plates, But it does add an Author, this confirms my speculation , so I like it. The ESTC lists this as a first edition, and two more editions, 1708,1722.No us copies of the 1708 and only Harvard of the 1722, none of them list engravings. So It seams safe to say that” none of the copies listed in ESTC have these 19 engraved Plates.

305G   Buchanan, Cha. (Charles).    b. 1660 or 61


The Nature and Design of Holy Days.      


London: printed by W. B. for Richard Sare, at Grays-Inn-Gate, in Holborn, 1705.             $1,900 Octavo, .  First Edition A-I4/8/K3 +19 Full page engravings.

Engraved frontispiece, discolored, and nineteen full-page engravings  extraneous to the tex. Bound in full contemporary calfskin, leather cracked at front joint, some missing leather pieces, largely intact, contents with some browning along the gutters, some leaves becoming loose, endleaves with old tape, contemporary annotations. And Price on title page: Price 6d stitch’d, or 8d Bound.

This book is not only rare but it is probably unique, with the illustrations, the ESTC lists the book as anonmyous, yet is is undoubtedly but Charles Buchanan.
ESTC makes no mention of frontispiece or illustrations.
Three editions listed in ESTC, the first and third editions each only show one U.S. library location: the Houghton Library, the second edition has no North American holdings, see ESTC T170660.





Glasgow Incunabula Project update (17/4/13)

Glasgow Incunabula Project update (17/4/13).

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