A discussion of interesting books from my current stock A site


July 2013

Peter Canisius (another Copy)

Canisius 354G Mary and Child
Canisius 354G Mary and Child

Just recently, after I sold a copy of this wonderful book, I purchased another copy , this new copie has some nice features which make it a great copy , it has less browning that the previous copy  and it is certainly 17th century vellum.

650G spine
650G spine


650G Commentariorum de Verbi Dei Corruptelis tomi duo. Prior de Venerando Christi Domini Praecursore Ioanne Baptista, Posterior de Sacrosancta Virgine Maria deipara disserit, et utriusque personae historiam omnem adversus Centuriatores Magdeburgicos aliosq; Catholicae Ecclesiae hostes diserte vindicat. Postrema et Plenior utriusque operis, in unum volumen nunc primum redacti editio, D. Petro Canisio Societatis Iesu Theologo, tùm Authore, tùm Recognitore. Accessit index Copiosus, partim locorum Scripturae Sacrae, quae passim tractantur, partim rerum praecipuarum, quae utroque Tomo continentur

      [Bound with]
Alter tomvs Commentariorvm de verbi Dei corrvptelis, adversvs novos et veteres sectariorvm errores …
De S. Joan. Baptista. De B. V. Maria

Ingolstadii : Ex officinal typographic Davidis Sartori, 1583     $6,500


Folio, 32.5cm x 22.5cm.  Second  Edition  Numerous full-page woodcut illustrations including one of John the Baptist, the Tree of Jesse with crowned kings and Mary and Child at the top and the key episodes of Mary’s life Bound in 17th or 18th century full vellum.   “In 1543 [Canisius] visited Peter Faber and, having made the ‘spiritual exercises’ under his direction, was admitted into the Society of Jesus at Mainz, on 8 May. With the help of Leonhard Kessel and others, Canisius, laboring under great difficulties, founded at Cologne the first German house of that order; at the same time he preached in the city and vicinity, and debated and taught in the university. In 1546 he was admitted to the priesthood. […] [Canisius] spent several months under the direction of Ignatius in Rome [in 1547]. On 7 September 1549, he made his solemn profession as Jesuit at Rome, in the presence of the founder of the order. [Under Ignatius’ direction, Canisius also set up Jesuit colleges in Vienna, Ingolstadt, Prague, Zabern, Munich, Innsbruck, and Dillingen.] By the appointment of the Catholic princes and the order of the pope he took part in the religious discussions at Worms. As champion of the Catholics he repeatedly spoke in opposition to Melanchthon. The fact that the Protestants disagreed among themselves and were obliged to leave the field was due in a great measure to Canisius. […] DSC_0048.

One of Canisius’ most important works, is “Commentariorum de Verbi Dei corruptelis liber primus: in quo de Sanctissimi Præcursoris Domini Joannis Baptistæ Historia Evangelica . . . pertractatur”. Here the confutation of the principal errors of Protestantism is exegetical and historical rather than scholastical; in 1577 “De Maria Virgine incomparabili, et Dei Genitrice sacrosancta, libri quinque” was published at Ingolstadt. Later he united these two works into one book of two volumes, “Commentariorum de Verbi corruptelis” (Ingolstadt, 1583, {the book discussed here} and later Paris and Lyons);

the treatise on St. Peter and his primacy was only begun; the work on the Virgin Mary contains some quotations from the Fathers of the Church that had not been printed previously, and treats of the worship of Mary by the Church. A celebrated theologian of the present day called this work a classic defence of the whole Catholic doctrine about the Blessed Virgin (Scheeben, “Dogmatik”, III, 478) in 2011 Pope Benedict XVI gave the following talk on Canisius.

                                                                                                         BENEDICT XVI


Paul VI Audience Hall
Wednesday, 9 February 2011


Saint Peter Canisius

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today I want to talk to you about St Peter Kanis, Canisius in the Latin form of his surname, a very important figure of the Catholic 16th century.

He was born on 8 May 1521 in Wijmegen, Holland. His father was Burgomaster of the town. While DSC_0036 he was a student at the University of Cologne he regularly visited the Carthusian monks of St Barbara, a driving force of Catholic life, and other devout men who cultivated the spirituality of the so-called devotio moderna [modern devotion].

He entered the Society of Jesus on 8 May 1543 in Mainz (Rhineland — Palatinate), after taking a course of spiritual exercises under the guidance of Bl. Pierre Favre, Petrus [Peter] Faber, one of St Ignatius of Loyola’s first companions.

He was ordained a priest in Cologne. Already the following year, in June 1546, he attended the Council of Trent, as the theologian of Cardinal Otto Truchsess von Waldburg, Bishop of Augsberg, where he worked with two confreres, Diego Laínez and Alfonso Salmerón. In 1548, St Ignatius had him complete his spiritual formation in Rome and then sent him to the College of Messina to carry out humble domestic duties.

He earned a doctorate in theology at Bologna on 4 October 1549 and St Ignatius assigned him to carry out the apostolate in Germany. On 2 September of that same year he visited Pope Paul III at Castel Gandolfo and then went to St Peter’s Basilica to pray. Here he implored the great Holy Apostles Peter and Paul for help to make the Apostolic Blessing permanently effective for the future of his important new mission. He noted several words of this prayer in his spiritual journal. He said: “There I felt that a great consolation and the presence of grace had been granted to me through these intercessors [Peter and Paul]. They confirmed my mission in Germany and seemed to transmit to me, as an apostle of Germany, the support of their DSC_0050benevolence. You know, Lord, in how many ways and how often on that same day you entrusted Germany to me, which I was later to continue to be concerned about and for which I would have liked to live and die”.We must bear in mind that we are dealing with the time of the Lutheran Reformation, at the moment when the Catholic faith in the German-speaking countries seemed to be dying out in the face of the fascination of the Reformation. The task of Canisius — charged with revitalizing or renewing the Catholic faith in the Germanic countries — was almost impossible. It was possible only by virtue of prayer. It was possible only from the centre, namely, a profound personal friendship with Jesus Christ, a friendship with Christ in his Body, the Church, which must be nourished by the Eucharist, his Real Presence. In obedience to the mission received from Ignatius and from Pope Paul III, Canisius left for Germany. He went first to the Duchy of Bavaria, which for several years was the place where he exercised his ministry.  As dean, rector and vice chancellor of the University of Ingolstadt, he supervised the academic life of the Institute and the religious and moral reform of the people. In Vienna, where for a brief time he was diocesan administrator, he carried out his pastoral ministry in hospitals and prisons, both in the city and in the countryside, and prepared the publication of his Catechism. In 1556 he founded the College of Prague and, until 1569, was the first superior of the Jesuit Province of Upper Germany.  In this office he established a dense network of communities of his Order in the Germanic countries, especially colleges, that were starting points for the Catholic Reformation, for the renewal of the Catholic faith.   At that time he also took part in the Colloquy of Worms with Protestant divines, including Philip Melanchthon (1557); He served as Papal Nuncio in Poland (1558); he took part in the two Diets of Augsberg (1559 and 1565); he accompanied Cardinal Stanislaw Hozjusz, Legate of Pope Pius IV, to Emperor Ferdinand (1560); and he took part in the last session of the Council of Trent where he spoke on the issue of Communion under both Species and on the Index of Prohibited Books (1562).  In 1580 he withdrew to Fribourg, Switzerland, where he devoted himself entirely to preaching and writing. He died there on 21 December 1597. Bl. Pius IX beatified him in 1864 and in 1897 Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him the “Second Apostle of Germany”. Pope Pius XI canonized him and proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1925.

St Peter Canisius spent a large part of his life in touch with the most important people of his time and exercised a special influence with his writings. He edited the complete works of Cyril of Alexandria and of St Leo the Great, the Letters of St Jerome and the Orations of St Nicholas of Flüe. He published devotional books in various languages, biographies of several Swiss Saints and numerous homiletic texts.

However, his most widely disseminated writings were the three Catechisms he compiled between 1555 and 1558. The first Catechism was addressed to students who could grasp the elementary notions of theology; the second, to young people of the populace for an initial religious instruction; the third, to youth with a scholastic formation of middle and high school levels. He explained Catholic doctrine with questions and answers, concisely, in biblical terms, with great clarity and with no polemical overtones.

There were at least 200 editions of this Catechism in his lifetime alone! And hundreds of editions succeeded one another until the 20th century. So it was that still in my father’s generation people in Germany were calling the Catechism simply “the Canisius”. He really was the Catechist of Germany for centuries, he formed people’s faith for centuries.

This was a characteristic of St Peter Canisius: his ability to combine harmoniously fidelity to dogmatic principles with the respect that is due to every person. St Canisius distinguished between a conscious, blameworthy apostosy from faith and a blameless loss of faith through circumstances.

Moreover, he declared to Rome that the majority of Germans who switched to Protestantism were blameless. In a historical period of strong confessional differences, Canisius avoided — and this is something quite extraordinary — the harshness and rhetoric of anger — something rare, as I said, in the discussions between Christians in those times — and aimed only at presenting the spiritual roots and at reviving the faith in the Church. His vast and penetrating knowledge of Sacred Scripture and of the Fathers of the Church served this cause: the same knowledge that supported his personal relationship with God and the austere spirituality that he derived from the Devotio Moderna and Rhenish mysticism.

Characteristic of St Canisius’ spirituality was his profound personal friendship with Jesus. For example, on 4 September 1549 he wrote in his journal, speaking with the Lord: “In the end, as if you were opening to me the heart of the Most Sacred Body, which it seemed to me I saw before me, you commanded me to drink from that source, inviting me, as it were, to draw the waters of my salvation from your founts, O my Saviour”.

Then he saw that the Saviour was giving him a garment with three pieces that were called peace, love and perseverance. And with this garment, made up of peace, love and perseverance, Canisius carried out his work of renewing Catholicism. His friendship with Jesus — which was the core of his personality — nourished by love of the Bible, by love of the Blessed Sacrament and by love of the Fathers, this friendship was clearly united with the awareness of being a perpetuator of the Apostles’ mission in the Church. And this reminds us that every genuine evangelizer is always an instrument united with Jesus and with his Church and is fruitful for this very reason.

Friendship with Jesus had been inculcated in St Peter Canisius in the spiritual environment of the Charterhouse of Cologne, in which he had been in close contact with two Carthusian mystics: Johannes Lansperger, whose name has been Latinized as “Lanspergius” and Nikolaus van Esche, Latinized as “Eschius”.

He subsequently deepened the experience of this friendship, familiaritas stupenda nimis,through contemplation of the mysteries of Jesus’ life, which form a large part of St Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. This is the foundation of his intense devotion to the Heart of the Lord, which culminated in his consecration to the apostolic ministry in the Vatican Basilica.

The Christocentric spirituality of St Peter Canisius is rooted in a profound conviction: no soul anxious for perfection fails to practice prayer daily, mental prayer, an ordinary means that enables the disciple of Jesus to live in intimacy with the divine Teacher.

For this reason in his writings for the spiritual education of the people, our Saint insists on the importance of the Liturgy with his comments on the Gospels, on Feasts, on the Rite of Holy Mass and on the sacraments; yet, at the same time, he is careful to show the faithful the need for and beauty of personal daily prayer, which should accompany and permeate participation in the public worship of the Church.

This exhortation and method have kept their value intact, especially after being authoritatively DSC_0041proposed anew by the Second Vatican Council in the ConstitutionSacrosanctum Concilium: Christian life does not develop unless it is nourished by participation in the Liturgy — particularly at Sunday Mass — and by personal daily prayer, by personal contact with God.

Among the thousands of activities and multiple distractions that surround us, we must find moments for recollection before the Lord every day, in order to listen to him and speak with him.

At the same time, the example that St Peter Canisius has bequeathed to us, not only in his works but especially with his life, is ever timely and of lasting value. He teaches clearly that the apostolic ministry is effective and produces fruits of salvation in hearts only if the preacher is a personal witness of Jesus and an instrument at his disposal, bound to him closely by faith in his Gospel and in his Church, by a morally consistent life and by prayer as ceaseless as love. And this is true for every Christian who wishes to live his adherence to Christ with commitment and fidelity. Thank you. (Benedictus PP. XVI)

Within a decade of its founding, the Society of Jesus had already developed its own kind of spirituality. Ignatian spirituality, as it is now called, has as its cornerstone the Spiritual Exercises written by St. Ignatius himself.

DSC_0050 2

Natural ? History & “The devil’s arse”

357G Leigh's Natural History 1700
357G Leigh’s Natural History 1700

Like, Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarun, Grew’s Catalogue of the Royal society  and Brown’s Pseudo Epidemica, Leigh’ Natural History, is a conglomeration  of current scientific knowledge, misinterpretation, ridiculous lore and my favorite, outlandish impossible tales. Leigh’s book has one more thing going for it is the extremely crisp and clear engravings. Unlike the others it also has as subject index, which is fascinating reading. A nice example of the index reads

 " Barometers,Bassianus, Bath, Bees,Belemnites ,Bellisama, Bile-stone, Birds,Black lead, Boadicia’s Prayer, Boyle, Mr, Brigantes,Britian, Britania, Brotherton,Brutes, Busonites stones, Buphthalmos,Burning Well,Buxton, Byon.

By the way, a Busonite, is also known as a ‘Toad Stone’ fossilized teeth from the “Sea-wolf”

Leigh, Charles. 1662-1701?

The natural history of Lancashire, Cheshire, and the peak, in Derbyshire: with an account of the British, Phœnician, Armenian, Gr. and Rom. antiquities in those parts. By Charles Leigh, Doctor of Physick.

Oxford: Printed for the Author; and to be had at Mr. George West’s, and Mr. Henry Clement’s, Booksellers there; Mr. Edward Evet’s, at the Green-Dragon, in St. Paul’s Church-yard; and Mr. John Nicholson, at the King’s-Arms, in Little-Britain, London, 1700.                                                  $3,000
Folio, 8 3/5 x 13 3/5 in. First edition. π2, A2, a2, [a]1, b-c2, π5, ***2, B-Z2, Aa-Tt2, π6, A-Z2, Aa-Bb2, A-S2, [t]-[v]2, T-V2, π2, X-Z2, Aa-Oo2, Aaa-Ddd2. COMPLETE
The illustrations in this book are magnificent. They consist of twenty-two full-paged engravings of fossils, caves, and other geological sites; a double-paged map with contemporary coloring; two pages of the arms of the subscribers; and a portrait of the author after Faithorne.

Overall, this is a really lovely copy. it is bound in contemporary calf rebacked.

Leigh, remembered primarily as a naturalist and a Fellow of the Royal Society, was a physician by profession. He published several works, “the most important of which is a ‘Natural History of Lancashire, Cheshire, and the Peak of Derbyshire’.” (Thomas)
The text of this volume is most intriguing; it is, all in one, a catalogue of antiquities, an archaeological survey, and a freak show. One of the author’s many goals is to demonstrate and prove, by producing artifacts and animals from far flung corners of the world, that a huge flood covered the whole earth and dislodged hippos from the home lands, planting them in the mud of Lancashire. The plates include ‘The devil’s arse,’ a woman with horns, Greek carved tablets, fossils, birds, skulls, and crustaceans.
Wing L975.

The Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900Volume 32 tells us,  LEIGH, CHARLES (1662-1701 ?), physician and naturalist, son of William Leigh of Singleton-in-the-Fylde, Lancashire, and great-grandson of William Leigh [q.v.], B.D., rector of Standish, was born at Singleton Grange in 1662. On 7 July 1679 he became a commoner of Brasenose College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. on 24 May 1683. Wood records that he left Oxford in debt and went to Cambridge, to Jesus College, as is believed. He graduated M.A. and M.D. (1689) at Cambridge. He was on 13 May 1685 elected F.R.S. When Wood wrote his ‘Athenæ Oxonienses,’ Leigh was practising in London; but he lived at Manchester at a later date, and had an extensive practice throughout Lancashire.

leigh_126Some of his papers read before the Royal Society are printed in the ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ and he published the following separate works: 1. ‘Phthisologia Lancastriensis, cui accessit Tentamen Philosophicum de Mineralibus Aquis in eodem comitatu observatis,’ 1694, 8vo; reprinted at Geneva, 1736. 2. ‘Exercitationes quinque, de Aquis Mineralibus; Thermis Calidis; Morbis Acutis; Morbis Intermittentib.; Hydrope,’ 1697, 8vo. 3. ‘The Natural History of Lancashire, Cheshire, and the Peak in Derbyshire; with an account of the British, Phoenic, Armenian, Gr. and Rom. Antiquities found in those parts,’ Oxford, 1700, fol. This contains a good portrait after Faithorne as frontispiece. He also wrote three pamphlets in 1698 in answer to R. Bolton on the ‘Heat of the Blood,’ and one in reply to John Colebatch on curing the bite of a viper. His writings are of little value, and there is reason for the remark of Dr. T. D. Whitaker that ‘his vanity and petulance’ were ‘at least equal to his want of literature.’ His ‘Natural History’ is little more than a translation of his earlier Latin treatises.

He married Dorothy, daughter of Edward Shuttleworth of Larbrick, Lancashire, with whom he received a moiety of the manor of Larbrick, afterwards surrendered in payment of a debt owing by Leigh to Serjeant Bretland. He left no issue. His widow died before 1717.

He is said to have died in 1701, but there is some doubt on this point, as Hearne, writing on 30 Oct. 1705 (MS. Diary, iv. 222), says : ‘I am told Dr. Leigh, who writ the “Natural History of Lancashire,” has divers things fit for the press, but that he will not let them see the light because his History has not taken well.’

[Wood’s Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 643, iv. 609; Fish-wick’s Kirkham (Chetham Soc.), pp. 183, 189; Nicholson’s Engl. Hist. Libr. ed. 1776, p. 13; Earwaker’s Local Gleanings, 4to, i. 68; Ormerod’s Cheshire (Helsby), i. xxxiii; Dugdale’s Visitation of Lancashire (Chetham Soc.), p. 183; Malcolm’s Lives, 1815, 4to; Whitaker’s Whalley, 1818, p. 26; Gough’s Brit. Topogr.; Corresp. of K. Richardson of Bierley, p. 25; Raines’s Fellows of Manchester College (Chetham Soc.), i. 184; Derby Household Books (Chetham

Soc.), p. 119; Thoresby’s Corresp. i. 390; J. E. Bailey’s MSS. in Chetham Library, Bundle No. 7.]


Rogues! “His genius being addicted to Poetry”

This is my new Favorite Book! It is quite rare in Original editions , only three US holdings of the first editions, NO copies in the us of the Seconds! It  is without a doubt a fore runner to  Robinson Crusoe and Tristam Shandy ! ( two other of my favorite books) This book is listed some times as “fiction” other times it is categorized as “True Crime” having read through it, I would side on amazing ‘true crime’. ”

Richard Head’s English Rogue became the first work of English prose fiction to be translated into a continental language. DSC_0035 Its German title was Simplicianischer Jan Perus, dessen Geburt und Herkommen, kurtzweiliger Lebens-Lauff, unterschiedliche Verheyrathung, Rencke, Schwencke, Elend, Reise, Gefängnuß, Verurtheil- und Bekehrung (1672), – the

Title page of German edition of Richard Head's...
Title page of German edition of Richard Head’s English Rogue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

title being designed to sell the English work on the very market Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen had recently created with his Simplicius Simplicissimus (1666–1668).

Numerous imitations of Head’s rogue story followed on the English market such as The French Rogue: or, The Life of Monsieur Ragoue de Versailles (1672) (identified in several library catalogues as another of Head’s works); the most famous descendant is today probably Daniel Defoes The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (1722).

I hope you can get this one !


From Part III chap I

“Mrs. Dorothy rehearses how she cheats her Lovers;
who being with Child, made all that had to do with . -her contribute to her expence in lying in, and recotnpence her lost honour. She goes into the country to
lay her great Belly; in her Journey she falls into
the acquaintance of a crafty Old Woman (alias:
a Procurer)
MRS. Dorothy having thus given me an account of her first Adventure, I received much satissaction in the Relation; and told her that I found she was much improved in cunning since my first ac-
quaintance with her; for I had enjoyed her without much advantage to her self, for she had a great Belly, with little profit, not knowing who was, or were to find a Father: whereas now she had her choice of three, and money enough to boot whereby to purchase a handsome provision for herself and child. Yes, reply’d she, I did not intend to be caught again; for then it would have been my own sault,youhavingexperienced me in the sallacies of your Sex ; and therefore, as I told you, I made my bargain with all my three Friends as politickly as I could; and upon second thoughts, altered somewhat of the terms I had formerly agreed upon : for whereas my first Customer had given me twenty pounds in hand, to provide me with necessaries during my time of lying in, and had agreed to provide for the Child,when it should be born: I told him Ihad provided a Nurse for it dircady that was willing to take all the charge, and discharge him from any further trouble, upon payment of fourty pounds more; to this he easily consented, and gave Bond in to me, in the name of a Friend of mine; whom I told him was the Party that would make provision for the Child.
Thus did I settle matters with the first : and with the second I continued my bargain, of having twenty pounds down, and fifty pounds more at the birth of the Child. And my Masters Brother and I continued our old bargain of the like sum, of twenty pounds down,and fifty pounds more,to be paid at 6 moneths; neither did I discontinue my samiliarities with any of them; for I managed my afsairs so cunningly, that some nights I lay with my first Customer without the knowledge of my Master’s Brother, from whom I endeavoured only to conceal it, and not from my second for he, as I told you, was privy to my dealings with
him, and by that means only first gained his ends upon me: sometimes I lay with my second Customer,but it was with feme regret, for I had the least afsection for him of the three ; but now he since he had bled some of his yellow pieces, and give me what I desired of him, I could not well refuse him his desires of me, neither was he so shy as formerly; for he valued not though my Masters Brother sometimes discovered us, for he knewthat our dealingswere not concealed from him, and therefore he was the bolder. But with my Masters Brother I was more free than ever; he having as much again for his money as either of the other, neither was it perceived by either of them; for he having the command of the house, so ordered it, that my Lodging was nearest to his; and therefore we hadthemore conveniencyto come at one another..”

DSC_0032From part IV


Say ling from St. Helena, &c. Landing at Messina, the Captain Latroon &c. sell Ship and Goods; the Seamen falling out and killing one another, they leave them and go for Palermo; Thence they travel into the Country, and describe it with its Rarities and Wonders. A comical Adventure in a house supposedly haunted, as they travelled through Gergento with their Mulletteer.
Whilst we anchored at the Island of St. Helena there happened a sad Accident; whilst we were recreating and resreshing our selves in the Island, one of our men (that brought us ashore in the Skiff) being an excellent Swimmer, stript him-self, and over the side of the Boat he went, he had not been long in the water besore such as stood on the shore to see him swim, perceived a Sharkto make towards him; who cryed out, A Shark, Shark, hasten to the Boat; which he did with incredible speed, and had laid his hands on her side as the Shark snapt at his Leg, and having it in his mouth turned on his back, and twisted it off” from his knee. The sellow protested to me that when this was done, he selt no pain any where but under his Arm-pits; the sellow was drest and persectly cur’d; afterwards this very Shark was taken by one of our men, fishing for him with a great piece of Raw-Beef, and when his belly was ripp’d open, the Leg was found whole therein. From St. Helena, having taken in fresh water, and gotten in some other resreshment that the Island afforded, we set sail with a fresh breeze and good weather.
Our Captain getting himself into the great Cabbin, gave the word for me, I coming to him, now, said he, let you and I have a little private discourse together, to the intent that we may persect with sasety what we have enterpriz’d with hazard. You know my full intent as to the disposing of the Ship and Goods to my own use and benefit, excepting only what is yours, and the rest of our Comrades: What your old friend in Breeches hath with great hazard ventur’d for, let her enjoyit freelysince shehathdeservedit,and that you may see the frankness of my Spirit, go, get our friends together that I may inform them, that though I play the Rogue with others, yet I will be just to them; your Newgate Birds will have such as wrong their own fraternity”


754F  Head, Richard.    1637?-1686?.

The English rogue: continued in the life of Meriton Latroon, and other extravagants. Comprehending the most eminent. [sic] cheats of both sexes. The third part. With the illustration of pictures to every chapter.

Bound with

The English rogue: continued in the life of Meriton Latroon, and other extravagants. Comprehending the most eminent. [sic] cheats of both sexes. The fourth part. With the illustration of pictures to every chapter.

London: By Anne Johnson for Francis Kirkman, 1674

London : printed for Francis Kirkman, and are to be sold by William Rands at the Crown in Duck-lane, 1680.                         $3,500

Octavo, 9.5 x 16 cm.  Second edition of each volume.  A4, B-Y8    [2],[308] P=3plates ; A-V8 X . [2], 324 1 of 3 Plates This copy has three full page plates in part one (complete and one of three plates in part two, lacking two plates).

This copy is bound in full contemporary calf recently rebacked.

Richard Head (1637?-86?) was a prolific hack writer who reportedly made a living “scribbling” for booksellers “at 20s per sheet”, his fortunes somewhat limited by his dissipated lifestyle and addiction to gambling (which nevertheless inspired his vivid accounts of contemporary low life). A characteristically coarse and indecent work, The English Rogue(1665) was perhaps Head’s most popular book. It was initially refused a printing licence until expurgated (though copies of an unexpurgated edition are supposed to have been distributed illegally). To capitalise upon its popularity the writer and bookseller Francis Kirkman (b.1632) reissued The English Rogue in 1666 and then published a Second Part in 1668 (second edition 1671). This led to the production of Third and Fourth parts in 1671, with an intimation that a Fifth too would be forthcoming. Although Kirkman implied that all these additions resulted from collaboration between himself and Head, Head disowned responsibility for any part except the First.

The most important primary source on Head s life is William Winstanley’s biographical entry published in his Lives of the most famous English poets (1687)   a credible if not reliable source insofar as Winstanley could claim to have been personally acquainted with Head. According to Winstanley, Head was a minister s son, born in Ireland. His father was killed in the Irish rebellion of 1641, the incidents seem to be reflected in Head’s English Rogue, the satirical romance he published in 1665. His mother took him to England where she had relatives in Barnstaple. They later moved on to Plymouth, to Bridport and to Dorset where Head is known to have attended the town’s grammar school in 1650. Head was eventually admitted to the same Oxford College his father had attended (possibly New Inn Hall, from which a John Head graduated in 1628). His financial means being insufficient Head was taken from college and bound apprentice to a  Latin bookseller  in London  attaining to a good Proficiency in the Trade , as Winstanley put it.

His genius being addicted to Poetry  he published his first poetical and satirical piece which Winstanley recorded as Venus Cabinet Unlock d. This may be a reference to Giovanni Benedetto Sinibaldi’s The cabinet of Venus unlocked, and her secrets laid open. Being a translation of part of Sinibaldus, his Geneanthropeia, and a collection of some things out of other Latin authors, never before in English (London: Philip Briggs, 1658). Head married around that time. A second addiction to gambling cost him the profit he made as an author and with his shop.
Head moved   or fled   to his homeland Ireland, where he gained esteem with his first comedy Hic et ubique, or, The Humors of Dublin   printed with a dedication to the Duke of Monmouth at his return to England in 1663. The Duke s recompense remaining below expectations Head had to survive as a bookseller with shop addresses (so Sidney Lee) in Little Britain, and (so Gerard Langbaine) in Petty Canons Alley, off Paternoster Row and opposite Queen’s Head Alley. Winstanley located him in Queen’s Head Alley. If his reports are trustworthy, Head gathered some wealth in little time only to gamble it away again a little later.
The English Rogue (1665) solved some of his financial problems. Its tales of drastic adventures were based on the model of Spanish rogue stories (such as Lazarillo de Tormes 1554), which were fashionable due to the contemporary publication of Scarron s Roman Comique (or Comical Romance, so the English title which established the genre), and savory with the events Head could claim to have based on his personal experience. The censor, so Winstanley reported, rejected the manuscript as  too much smutty . The softened book edition sold brilliantly and created a complex publishing history: The first edition published by Henry Marsh sold out within the year. Marsh died that very year, Francis Kirkman the business partner, to whom Marsh had been indebted, secured the rights and sold Head’s title in four further editions between 1666 and 1667. It remains unclear how the ensuing volumes two, three, and four, published in 1671, 1674 and 1680, came to be written (a fifth was promised and never appeared). Winstanley speaks of Head as the author indiscriminately. In the dedication to his Proteus redivivus (1675) Head, however, explicitly denies a hand in any part but the first. Kirkman asserted nonetheless that he and Head were responsible for the third and fourth parts. The preface to the latter is signed by both men   facts which make Head’s belated disclaimer suspicious.
Head’s imprint as a publisher is found on several titles. Works from his pen appeared until 1677. Winstanley reports that Head drowned on a journey to the Isle of Wight; the report itself was made in June 1686, and this generally accepted as the date of his death, even though more accurately it is a terminus ante quem.
Wing H1250 [ O. DU. EN ]
Wing H1251 [O. DU. EN; OCI]   Sweeney #2264


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