A discussion of interesting books from my current stock A site


May 2019

An early fifteenth century manuscript Homiliary

281J           Early 15th century  Homiliary  

{Homiliarius doctorum qui omiliarius dici solet … Hieronymi Augustini, Ambrosii, Jo. Chrysostomi, Gregorii, Origenis, Bede et complures ..}?

IMG_0848 St Augustine (354- 430),  John Christomos  (349-407) St Benedict , Pope Leo  I(440-61) ( and others)IMG_1117

Spain,  15th century.                           $37,000

Large Folio.  12 ½ x 9 1/4  inches Leaf size, text block is 9 3/4 x 6 inches.

196 Leaves This manuscript begins at Leaf 141 and continues to CCCXXVIII, (141- 337 leaves). For a total of 196 manuscript leaves on vellum. There are catch words and original it had signatures in the beginning of each quire, but they are now unintelligible. There are thirty five  large decorated initials with nice neat pen work. This book has seen a lot of use. Some pages have been trimmed, sections have been scratched out and others corrected. many leaves have cuts and cracks some repaired earlier than later, by stitching .

The rear board with bosses is intact but the spine and front board are long gone, It his been restored with calf over a quarter sawn oak board, decorated to match the original board.
















For this  collection of Homilies, who was the editor is  not certain, and while traditionally it is attributed to Paul  the Deacon  approximately 720-799  There is also supposition that it was collected by Alcuin or even Bede.

What we do know is that the production of
Homiliary began in the 780s when Charlemagne (742/743–814) appointed  Paul the Deacon to compose a Homiliary. Charlemagne,” has been represented as the sponsor or even creator of medieval education, and the Carolingian renaissance has been represented as the renewal of Western culture. This renaissance, however, built on earlier episcopal and monastic developments, and, although Charlemagne did help to ensure the survival of scholarly traditions in a relatively bleak and rude age, there was nothing like the general advance in education that occurred IMG_1094later IMG_0833with the cultural awakening of the 11th and 12th centuries. Learning, IMG_0880nonetheless, had no more ardent friend than Charlemagne, who came to the Frankish throne in 768 distressed to find extremely poor education systems” [EB] “Charlemagne stands out as the personification of everything that is unselfish and noble, a conqueror who visualized himself as the champion of European unity with the purpose of saving Europe through imperial conquest—an evangelist with a sword. As it turns out, Charlemagne did see himself as the Conqueror of everything pagan and heterodox and the divinely destined builder of Augustine’s City of God—of “one God, one emperor, one pope, one city of God.”[2]  It was as if Charlemagne consciously sought to fulfill Plato’s vision of the ideal philosopher king. After all, Europe badly needed a conquering strong man like David of old, who could exercise wisdom and discernment in the sustainment of God’s new Jerusalem on earth.” [Gregory W. Hamilton ;

So, We do know that ” From a very early time the Homilies of the Fathers were in high esteem, and were read in connection with the recitation of the Divine Office. That the custom was as old as the sixth century we know since St. Gregory the Great refers to it, and St. Benedict mentions it in his rule (Pierre Batiffol, History of the Roman Breviary, 107). This was particularly true of the homilies of Pope St. Leo I, very terse and peculiarly suited to liturgical purposesDSC_0053This particular Homilarium Begins [folio cxli] with Ambrose (340-397) Homilies for the  Quadragesima  (forty days of Lent -Yes lent is longer than 40 days even though there are more 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter. ( counting the days of Lent excluding its Sundays and the Sacred Triduum, which technically is a separate sacred time.) This takes up to folio 224 (cclxxiiii). Following St Ambrose who has iv sermons in this section  are sermons by Origen, Bede , John Chrystosom  Cyrill , Augustine , Peter Chrysologus  Archbishop of Ravenna , Alcuin of York . 


After the Quadragesima series begins the Homilies for The Passion of Christ (Holy Week) On Palm Sunday, Jesus and his disciples spent the night in Bethany, a town about two miles east of Jerusalem. This is where Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, and his two sisters, Mary and Martha lived. They were close friends of Jesus, and probably hosted Him and His disciples during their final days in Jerusalem.


This section (folios 141-245 )of Homilies begins at Quadragesima  see above.

Then Holy Week/Passione homilies occupy folios 246-312.

Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 28 August 430 AD) ,Gregory (3 September 590 to 12 March 604 AD) , Pope Leo (440-416 AD), Chrystomos (347–407)

 Next in  course  is Palm Sunday “Dominica in ramis palmarum  folios 313-337

Abbot Bernard (1090-1153), Pope Leo (440–461), Cyprian (200-258) , Chrystomos(347-407) Ambrose: (c339-397)

The final leaf is Easter Saturday (Sabbato sancto pasche)


Probably the first 140 leaves made up Homiletic commentaries on the Old Testament: the Hexaemeron (Six Days of Creation); De Helia et ieiunio (On Elijah and Fasting); De Iacob et vita beata (On Jacob and the Happy Life); De Abraham; De Cain et Abel; De Ioseph (Joseph); De Isaac vel anima (On Isaac, or The Soul); De Noe (Noah); De interpellatione Iob et David (On the Prayer of Job and David); De patriarchis (On the Patriarchs); De Tobia (Tobit); Explanatio psalmorum (Explanation of the Psalms); Explanatio symboli (Commentary on the Symbol).

Saint Augustine:


Peter Chrysologus:


(c. 380 – c. 450) Archbishop of Ravenna, approximately 400-450 , The earliest printed work by Chrysologus is 1575 Insigne et pervetvstvm opvs homiliarum.He is known as the “Doctor of Homilies” for the concise but theologically rich reflections he delivered during his time as the Bishop of Ravenna. His surviving works offer eloquent testimony to the Church’s traditional beliefs about Mary’s perpetual virginity, the penitential value of Lent, Christ’s Eucharistic presence, and the primacy of St. Peter and his successors in the Church. Few details of St. Peter Chrysologus’ biography are known. He was born in the Italian town of Imola in either the late fourth or early fifth century, but sources differ as to whether this occurred around 380 or as late as 406.

John Chrystosom


Beyond Chrstostoms preaching, the other lasting legacy of John is his influence on Christian liturgy. Two of his writings are particularly notable. He harmonized the liturgical life of the Church by revising the prayers and rubrics of the Divine Liturgy, or celebration of the Holy Eucharist. To this day, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches of the Byzantine Rite typically celebrate the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom as the normal Eucharistic liturgy, although his exact connection with it remains a matter of debate among experts.

Saint Cyrill. IMG_0857  Cyril’s jurisdiction over Jerusalem was expressly confirmed by the First Council of Constantinople (381), at which he was present. At that council he voted for acceptance of the term homoousios,(“consubstantial” this term was later also applied to the Holy Spirit IMG_0848in order to designate it as being “same in essence” with the Father and the Son. Those notions became cornerstones of theology in Nicene Christianity, and also represent one of the most important theological concepts within the Trinitarian doctrinal understanding of God) having been finally convinced that there was no better alternative. Cyril’s writings are filled with the loving and forgiving nature of God which was somewhat uncommon during his time period. Cyril fills his writings with great lines of the healing power of forgiveness and the Holy Spirit, like “The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance. He is not felt as a burden for God is light, very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as the Spirit approaches. The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to IMG_1095strengthen and to console”. Cyril himself followed God’s message of forgiveness many times throughout his life. This is most clearly seen in his two major exiles where Cyril was disgraced and forced to leave his position and his people behind. He never wrote or showed any ill will towards those who wronged him. Cyril stressed the themes of healing and regeneration in his catechesis. the well-known Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, to explain them to the catechumens during the latter part of Lent

Holy God, you gather the whole universe
into your radiant presence and continually reveal your Son as our Savior.
Bring healing to all wounds,
make whole all that is broken,
speak truth to all illusion,
and shed light in every darkness,
that all creation will see your glory and know your Christ. Amen.


St. Gregory the Great (ca. 540-604).


Alcuin of York : Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus; c. 735 – 19 May 804 AD)—also called Ealhwine, Alhwin or Alchoinwas an English scholar, clergyman, poet and teacher from York, Northumbria. He was born around 735 and became the student of Archbishop Ecgbert at York. At the invitation of Charlemagne, he was a leading scholar and teacher at the Carolingian court, where he remained a figure in the 780s and ’90s.

IMG_0881Alcuin wrote many theological and dogmatic treatises, as well as a few grammatical works and a number of poems. He was made Abbot of Tours in 796, where he remained until his death. “The most learned man anywhere to be found”, according to Einhard‘s Life of Charlemagne (ca. 817-833), he is considered among the most important architects of the Carolingian Renaissance. Among his pupils were many of the dominant intellectuals of the Carolingian era


Origen :Origen of Alexandria ( c. 184 – c. 253)IMG_0860

Origen, most modest of writers, hardly ever alludes to himself in his own works; but Eusebius has devoted to him almost the entire sixth book of “Ecclesiastical History”. Eusebius was thoroughly acquainted with the life of his hero; he had collected a hundred of his letters; in collaboration with the martyr Pamphilus he had composed the “Apology for Origen”; he dwelt at Caesarea where Origen’s library was preserved, and where his memory still lingered; if at times he may be thought somewhat partial, he is undoubtedly well informed. We find some details also in the “Farewell Address” of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus to his master, in the controversies of St. Jerome and Rufinus, in St. Epiphanius (Haeres., LXIV), and in Photius (Biblioth. Cod. 118).



Galileo’s “Starry Messenger” and Kepler’s “Dioptrice” Two of the Most Important Books in Early Observational Astronomy

263J Gassendi, Pierre (1592-1655); Galilei, Galileo (1564-1642); Kepler, Johannes (1571-1630)

Petri Gassendi Institutio Astronomica: Juxta Hypotheseis tam Veterum quàm Recentiorum. Cui accesserunt Galilei Galilei Nuncius Sidereus; et Johannis Kepleri Dioptrice. Tertia editio prioribus Correctior.

London: Jacob Flesher for William Morden, 1653.                                             $22,000


Octavo: 18.3 x 11.8 cm. 3 parts in one volume: [16], 199, [1]; 173, [1] p., 4 leaves of plates. Collation: A-N8, O4; A-L8 (including the final blank leaf)

SECOND EDITION THUS, Fourth edition overall of Gassendi

A nice copy in contemporary, blind-ruled English calfskin, rebacked.    The first title page is printed in red and black. Galileo’s “Sidereus Nuncius” and Kepler’s “Dioptrice” are introduced by separate title pages.  The text is illustrated with astronomical woodcuts including images of the moon, showing its uneven, mountainous surface as discerned by Galileo through the telescope and four full-paged woodcut illustrations of stars (the Pleiades, Orion’s belt, the Praesepe and Orion Nebulas.)

Gassendi1683_1Gassendi’s “Institutio Astronomica,” has been called the first modern astronomy textbook. It is divided into three sections: the first details the so-called theory of the spheres, the second describes astronomical theory, and the third discusses the conflicting ideas of Brahe and Copernicus. The present edition is important for the inclusion of two seminal works of telescopic astronomy: Galileo’s “Sidereus Nuncius” (first ed. Venice, 1610), in which announces his discovery of Jupiter’s moons, and Kepler’s “Dioptrice” (first ed. Augsburg, 1611), Kepler’s brilliant explanation of how the telescope works.Galileo’s Discoveries with the Telescope:”Galileo’s ‘Starry Messenger’ contains some of the most important discoveries in scientific literature. Learning in the summer of 1609 that a device for making distant objects seem close and magnified had been brought to Venice from Holland, Galileo soon constructed a spy-glass of his own which he demonstrated to the notables of the Venetian Republic, thus earning a large increase in his salary as professor of mathematics at Padua. Within a few months he had a good telescope, magnifying to 30 diameters, and was in full flood of astronomical observation.”Through his telescope Galileo saw the moon as a spherical, solid, mountainous body very like the earth- quite different from the crystalline sphere of conventional philosophy. He saw numberless stars hidden from the naked eye in the constellations and the Milky Way.


Above all, he discovered four new ‘planets’, the satellites of Jupiter that he called (in honor of his patrons at Florence) the Medicean stars. Thus Galileo initiated modern observational astronomy and announced himself as a Copernican. (Printing and the Mind of Man)


Kepler’s Explanation of the Telescope:”In order that the enormous possibilities harbored in the telescope could develop, it was necessary to clear up the theoretical laws by which it worked. And this achievement was reserved solely for Kepler. With the energy peculiar to him, inside of a few weeks, in the months of August and September of the same year, 1610, he composed a book tracing basically once and for all the laws governing the passage of light through lenses and systems of lenses. It is called ‘Dioptrice’, a word that Kepler himself coined and introduced into optics. […]”In problem 86 in which he shows ‘how with the help of two convex lenses visible objects can be made larger and distinct but inverted’ he develops the principle on which the astronomical telescope is based, the discovery of which is thus tied up with his name for all time. Further on follows the research into the double concave lens and the Galilean telescope in which a converging lens is used as objective and a diverging lens as eyepiece. By this suitable combination Kepler discovers the principle of today’s telescopic lens. Even this scanty account sows the epoch-making significance of the work. It is not an overstatement to call Kepler the father of modern optics because of it. (Max Caspar, “Kepler”, pp. 198-199) Kepler’s work is also the first to announce Galileo’s discovery that Venus has phases like the moon.

Wing G293; Cinti 155; Sotheran, I p. 75 (1476); cf. PMM 113 and Dibner, Heralds of Science, #7 (the 1610 edition)

Petrus de Rosenheim

  • 299J Petrus de ROSENHEIM(1380-1433).. (& Sebastian Brant (1458-1521); Georg Simler  aka Relmisius)


[ARS MEMORANDI.] Rationarium Euangelistarum : omnia in se euangelia: prosa. uersu. imaginibusq[ue] q[ue] mirifice co[m]plecte[n]


Thomas Anshelm, Pforzheim, 1507.      $15,000.418000492

Quarto:  a-c6 with 15 full-page mnemonic woodcuts. Now attributed to thr “”Meister der Pforzheimer Druckerei” The title page is mounted but looks fine and it is bound in modern vellum.

A wonderfully illustrated and curious book, based on the 15th century block-book “Ars Memorandi”, with the 15 woodcuts A series of Latin verses from Petrus von Rosenheim’s (who was, prior of the Benedictine monastery of Melk) “Roseum memoriale” accompanies each of the full-page woodcuts.


The Ars memorandi, which is one of the oldest and most curious mnemonic treatises. It was intended for clerics and was to facilitate their learning of the main Greek biblical passages in its mnemotechnical processes. The iconography offers strange allegorical representations of the Evangelists, each of them constituting innumerable instruments, objects and symbols.Each couplet commences with a different letter in the order of the alphabet (omitting K, X, Y, Z, but including vowel I). These letters correspond to the numbers that appear on the cuts, and together form a method of memorizing the events of the Scripture as told by each of the Evangelists.


“The woodcuts of the Ars Memorandi contain some of the most curious images ever printed. An eagle displays a pair of embracing lovers on its breast; an angel, a sack of grain perched on his head, carries a blazing sun in one hand and a figure of the Christ Child in the other. The oddity of these pictures, however, had its purpose. The eagle and 2013_NYR_02706_0306_000(rosenheim_petrus_de_rationarium_evangelistarum_pforzheim_thomas_anshel)the angel, as well as the lion and the ox, are symbols of the four Evangelists, and the additional objects or figures refer to specific events in the Gospels. These woodcuts, together with the accompanying text, were an aid for the reader in memorizing the events of the life of Christ…. Our edition has no title page (not until the fifth edition did one appear); instead, the first leaf bears Latin verse by Sebastian Brant, Jodocus Gallus and Georgius Relmisius (i.e. Georg Simler), the editor. Simler’s preface appears on the next leaf. There are fifteen full-paged woodcuts. Each is dominated by one of the Evangelists’ symbols with details that allude to events in Christ’s life. Each facing page contains the explanatory prose with numbers corresponding to the details on the cuts.  Below the prose are the Latin distichs by Peter von Rosenheim. ….The Ars Memorandi, one of the most remarkable early mnemonic works,and  is extremely rare.” (This quote is from the introduction of the first complete reproduction of the Ars Memorandi (1981) by Roger S. Wieck, Assistant Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts of the Houghton Library at Harvard University)


85152_2The purpose was twofold: first, a method of memorizing the contents of each Gospel by means of woodcut figures worked into compact symbolical form; second, a method by which the priest might instruct those who could not read, using the accompanying key in explainingthe pictures to the illiterate. Of the cuts, 3 are for St. John’s Gospel, 5 for St. Matthew’s, 3 for St. Mark’s, and 4for St. Luke’s. Each is constructed with one great figure in the back-ground, on whose arms, legs, head, body, etc. are crowded the other symbols. Thus the background for the St. John is a Phoenix. Such curious objects appear as a leper’s clappers. money changers’ dishes, and early musical instruments.


Adams P-926; Brunet I: 499-500; VD 16 P 1909; STC 687;Panzer VIII, 230, 20; Proctor 11761. –

see Fairfax Murray German 43 (1503 edition).




Visual Puns! The man on the moon.


Here is another wonderful one , I think Dunton would call me “A Letter-monger” He suggest that Books are a mere Drug (sounding like Marx?)
The Secretary of Fate takes his place (reminding me of Mallarme´”Un Coup de Des)”

Parcæ — We’ll grant your request as soon as any Body’s else: but the Dice are cast, and there’s no resisting Fate; you must budge wether you will or no: Come Don’t think to Weedle and persuade us like customers:you aren’t got behind the counter yet”

Also are mentioned Thomas Hobbs,”moonshine” (drinking the moon) It is an all around incredible book.
304J  John Dunton1659-1733IMG_1488
The Visions of the Soul, before it comes into the Body, in several dialogues. Written by a member of the Athenian Society.
London: Printed for John Dunton, at the Raven in the Poultry, 1692                $ 2,900
Octavo A4, B-K8, L4 (leaf C4 signed B4.) First edition. Bound in full contemporary tan roan, professionally and very smartly rebacked with modern matching calf spine, red lettering piece. Pages browned, early ownership inscription to top corner of title page, a few contemporary notes in faded brown ink. A clean and sound copy of a very scarce item.
In the first  imaginative dialogue
 “The secretary of Fate”  predicts that the “Author’s soul” will “commence Temporality” in June 1664!
 Further dialogues are :
III between the Spirits off a Bastard and a Necromancer
V Between Rational and Vegitable
IX between an Astrologer and a Mountebank
XIX Between the Parcæ (viz. Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos) and a Book-Seller
This is a wonderfully amusing book,there are  two diagrams representing aspects of our IMG_1492solar system.      One of these may be the earliest printed visual pun showing the earth, moon and sun, which when turned on its side becomes a comic face in profile.
This work blends ideas from  theology, witchcraft and astronomy.  
Dunton, the compiler of this work, was something of a rake, he was a printer and author, and he manufactured this ‘Athenian Society’ under the auspices of which this work is published. Dunton also travelled to New England, and wrote a book with the great title: The Art of Living Incognito. “The Young Student’s Library” reviews and synopsizes all of the interesting books that have been recently published (circa 1692).
The books are great, and Dunton’s style is polished, lovely prose which makes for an easily enjoyed read. He writes about Hook’s Micrographia, Sprat’s History of the Royal Society, and a few works by Boyle. It is a very enjoyable book by an interesting author.  
Wing (2nd ed., 1994), D2634   Stephen Parks “John Dunton” #162.

No US Copy (not in Goff) No UK Copy

Untitled 3

305J Pelbartus de Themeswar   (1430-1504)

305J colophon
305J colophon

Sermones Pomerii fratris Pelbarti de Themeswar diui ordinis sancti Francisci de Sanctis: Jncipiunt feliciter.


Hagenau(Augsburg): Heinrich Gran, for Johannes Rynman, 30 September, 1501. [imp[re]ssi … p[er] industriu[m] Henricu[m] Gran i[n] imp[eri]ali oppido Hagenaw: expe[n]sis ac su[m]ptib[us] p[ro]uidi Joha[n]nis Rynman Finiu[n]t feliciter: Anno … millesimoq[ui]nge[n]tesimoprimo. vltimo die Septe[m]bris]     $16,000

Folio 12 x 8 inches  Probably about the fourth edition. ( the listings for this book are all pretty sloppy  despite Gran’s placing the exact dates in the colophon:20 feb 1499, 10 November 1499, 8 June 1500,

COLLATION:Completely unpaginated throughout, Signatures: pi6 [chi]6 a-b8 c6 d-e8 f6 g-h8 i6 k-l8 m6 n-o8 p6 q-s8 t6 v-x8 y6 z8 A8 B6 C-D8 E6 F-G8H6 I-K8 L6 M-N8 O6 P-Q8 R6 S-T8 U6 X-Y8 Z6 [&]8  leaves 12 and 358 blank .  ( 13, 357  ff. )                                                                                                               TYPE: two columns, 58 lines per page plus headline, gothic letter, with guide letters and spaces for numerous four and six line ornamental capitals, contemporaneously hand rubricated in red ink throughout.

304J1This copy is bound  contemporary blind-stamped leather over wooden boards from an Augsburg workshop operating between 1482 and 1532 (Kyriss 79). Front board panelled with two blind rolls, one formed of arches, the other of  birds and flowers, panel filled with further use of bird and flower blind roll and surmounted by blind-lettered title “POMERIUS*S”.  Rear board panelled with same bird and flower blind roll, panel infilled with diagonally crossing blind fillets. There is  Early monastic ink title to fore-edge and ink inscription to front free endpaper, nineteenth century ink inscription to front pastedown, wormholes to opening and closing leaves, a couple of unobtrusive wormholes extending into first few quires touching a few letters, corners of two leaves torn well clear of text, leaf A8 soiled at edges and possibly supplied from another copy, occasional very light paper browning otherwise internally clean. Binding worn with minor chips and losses, spine with minor loss especially at head, paper monastic library label to foot of spine, upper edge of rear board damaged exposing wood beneath (not affecting blind rolls), remains of hasps and clasps, light marks to centre of each board where central brass bosses were once affixed.

The Bavarian binding and inscription to its front free endpaper indicate very early Untitled 5acquisition by the medieval Benedictine Monastery of the Abbey of Irsee, Bavaria. Upon the dissolution of Bavarian monasteries in 1803 the volume was acquired by Munich Court Library; a nineteenth century ink inscription to the front pastedown notes the copy to have been a duplicate and it was doubtless sold between 1815 and 1859 when the library instigated a series of large auctions to dispose of surplus items. Sometime after 1880 it was acquired by the Benedictine monastery of Erdington Abbey, Birmingham, England, established for monks expelled in Bismarck’s kultur-kampf from Beuron, Prussia. In 1922 the Erdington monastery was dissolved following return of its monks to Beuron after World War I, and its library appears to have been subsequently disbursed. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES: Included in the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue, ISTC ip00252500, citing holdings at 15 locations globally with none in the US or UK; Hain 12557 (describing an imperfect copy). An attractive copy of this rare early work in entirely original state with substantial provenance.

Fourth or so  edition of this collection of sermons by Pelbartus de Themesvar, Hungarian Franciscan at the St.John Monastery in Buda. The popular text was first published in 1499 He was born in 1430 in Temesvár, Hungary (now Timişoara, Romania). In 1458 he went to the University of Kraków. In 1463 he was licensed in Theology. Possibly in 1471 he left Kraków as a doctor, then in 1483 he is mentioned in the Franciscan Community Annales of St. John Monastery in Buda, the Hungarian Capital city. After 1483 his writings began to be published in print. The first printed edition of his Sermons dates from 1498. In 1503 a printed version of his lecture notes was published. Pelbartus died on 9 January 1504 in Buda, as a highly distinguished author and professor. Hungarian versions of his writings in manuscript date from 1510.


ISTC No.ip00252500; Hain 12557*; VD16 P1165; Sajó-Soltész p. 767; Günt(L) p.65; Wilhelmi 479a; GW M30525


AustriaGraz, FranziskanerZB (imperfect)Untitled 6
Scheibbs, Kapuziner
Schwaz, Franziskaner (Ink U1/1-02) EstoniaTallinn Arch      GermanyBerlin, Staatsbibliothek (3)
Gotha ForschLB
Greifswald GeistlMin
Leipzig UB
Mainz GM/StB (2, Ink.1107,2553)
München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
München MetropolitanKap (I117/1a)
München UB
Rostock UB
Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek                      HungaryBudapest Bibl nat

Number of holding institutions15

Last Edit2016-07-13 12:00:00.00


A female autobiography. Ecstasy and distress

Madeleine Vigneron (1628-1667)

La vie et la conduite spirituelle de Mademoiselle M. Vigneron. Suivant les mémoires qu’elle en a laissez par l’ordre de son directeur (M. Bourdin). [Arranged and edited by him.].

Paris: Chez Pierre de Launay, 1689.           $3,200


IMG_1397Octavo 7 x 4 3/4 inches ã8 e8 A-2R8 (2R8 blank).     Second and preferred edition first published in 1679.This copy is bound in contemporary brown calf, five raised bands on spine, gilt floral tools in the compartments, second compartment titled in gilt; corners and spine extremities worn; three old joint repairs; on the front binder’s blank is an early ownership four-line inscription in French dated 1704, of

Sister Monique Vanden Heuvel, at the priory of Sion de Vilvoorde (Belgium).       IMG_1398Overall a fine copy.

This is  the stirring journal that Madeleine Vigneron , member of the Third Order of the Minims of St. Francis of Paola, she began to keep it in 1653 and continued until her premature death, (1667)  It was first published in 1679 and again in the present second, and final, edition which is more complete than the first.                                                                                                                                       Added are Madeleine’s series of 78 letters representing her spiritual correspondence.IMG_1410

In these autobiographical writings, which were collected and published by her Director, the Minim Matthieu Bourdin,  Madeleine speaks of the illnesses that plagued her since childhood and greatly handicapped her throughout a life that she dedicated to God by caring for the poor.  She received admirable lights on the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ, on the mysteries of the spiritual life. The hagiographers have remarked her austerity, her patience, her insatiable desire to suffer for God. Those who knew her perceived in her a virtuous life that impressed them.

A very rare book: the combined resources of NUC and OCLC locate only one copy in America, at the University of Dayton which also holds the only American copy of the 1679 edition.

§ Cioranescu 66466 (the 1679 edition).

checklist of early modern writings by nuns

Carr, Thomas M., “A Checklist of Published Writings in French by Early Modern Nuns” (2007). French Language and Literature Papers. 52.


Madeleine Vigneron (1628-1667), whose autobiographical writings were published in 1679, was astonished at such a disconnect between the knowledge produced by writing and the actual ignorance in which finds that her writing about her childhood tells her:

  • 68 Madeleine Vigneron , Life and spiritual conduct of Madelène Vigneron, sister of the Tiers- (…)

[…] my memory does not represent to me an infinity of things that I find here lying down, that so many operations so rare and so interior, and in such a small age! who can hardly believe it; For me, I confess to having no knowledge of it except that which is given to me by these writings: that is why if the whole is true, I must certainly tremble for fear of having been so unfaithful after having received so many graces 68 .

In this disjunction between the character and the narrator is added, in the writings of IMG_1404Claudine Moine, an uncertainty that weighs on the narrative instance itself, which reveals itself only as a channel singularly absent to itself in the act of telling. The “words” that flow from the “ray of light” to the “paper” pass through the narrator without leaving him with a clear “impression” because “they are erased from [his] mind”. The metatextual conclusion of the fourth relation still involves the “ray” of this infused light that made narration possible, without the narrator being able to attest to the reality of it:

  • 69 Cl. Moine , op. cit. , 4th relation, p. 453.

[…] a ray of light led me little by little, and that did not serve me to make me think about the things said, of which I immediately lost the memory, but only those which remained to me, and which were to me Myself unknown and hidden, as they are now, just as if they had not passed through my mind.

  • 70 Ibid.

The “radius of clarity” produces a writing without knowing and a knowledge without writing: on the one hand, it allows the written statement of “things said” but immediately forgotten; on the other hand, it provides the narrator with a reflexive intelligence on these enigmatic “things that remained to me”, contemporary to the narration, which have not, however, been the subject of any enunciation. In the present of the metatextual enunciation, this knowledge has disappeared: these “things” not said are “now” “unknown and hidden” to the very one who knew them. All the knowledge of the narration is lost. The hypothesis put forward that these “things” have not “passed by the spirit” of the woman who knew them without telling them, nor by the spirit of the one who told them without knowing them, contributes to reinforce this device of mutual exclusion between knowledge and narration. According to this device, writing is the only repository of knowledge that the narrator is not able to recognize, although it concerns her, which tends to make the subject telling and telling a fiction whose radius of clarity would be the true author. It can not therefore be Claudine Moine to attest to the reality of the “conduct” that God held on her, but, as for Madeleine Vigneron, it is her writings: “These writings are good proofs. ” 70 she writes of the effects that Jesus produces in her through her confessor, while she remains, for her part, a stranger to what she tells.

According to this device, writing is the only repository of knowledge that the narrator is not able to recognize, although it concerns her, which tends to make the subject telling and telling a fiction whose radius of clarity would be the true author. It can not therefore be Claudine Moine to attest to the reality of the “conduct” that God held on her, but, as for Madeleine Vigneron, it is her writings: “These writings are good proofs. ” 70 she writes of the effects that Jesus produces in her through her confessor, while she remains, for her part, a stranger to what she tells.

  • 71 J. Le Brun , “Refusal of ecstasy and the assumption of writing in modern mysticism”, Savoirs et (…)
  • 72 Ibid. , p. 43.
  • 73 Francis de Sales , Treatise on the Love of God , op. cit. , liv. VII, chap. VI, p. 681-684, who after (…)
  • 74 A historical phenomenon brought to light by S. Houdard , “False saints to spiritual (…)
  • 75 Philippe Lejeune , The Autobiographical Pact , Paris, Seuil, coll. “Points”, 1996, p. 27-35.
  • 76 The spiritual contract that the character of Claudine Moine seals with God in the first relationship, op (…)

17This narrative solution to the problem of the writing of ecstasy is what Jacques Le Brun called, in reference to Madame Guyon writing her Torrents and her Explanations of the Bible, “writing as ecstasy and self- esteem. “If ecstasy can not be seen or observed in the order of the senses or thought, it can only be” written “in a writing that will not say the exit of oneself but that will be out of self 72 . The realization of ecstasy in writing appears as an extension of the becoming-invisible of ecstasy during the modern period. Encouraged by the invention of the Teresian spiritual marriage and the ecstasies of life and action of civil devotion, 73 this evolution allows ecstasy to conform to a general movement of mistrust towards spectacular forms of devotion, noticed by J. Le Brun in the same text 74 .     

Référence électronique

Clément Duyck, « Extase sans savoir et écriture de l’extase (France, xviie siècle) », Les Dossiers du Grihl [En ligne], Les dossiers de Sophie Houdard, mis en ligne le 01 mars 2017, consulté le 13 mai 2019. URL :

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Clément Duyck

Clément Duyck est chercheur post-doctoral en littérature française du xviie siècle à l’Université catholique de Louvain. Il est l’auteur d’une thèse consacrée à la Poétique de l’extase (France, 1601-1675), à paraître chez Classiques Garnier. Ses recherches actuelles portent sur l’inspiration dans la poésie française du xviie siècle.

The Paradoxical Project (or the Athenian Sport)

Some men by fixing on a false Delight

Instruct, and by mistaking set us right.


265J  John   Dunton            1659-1733

IMG_1261Athenian sport: or, two thousand paradoxes merrily argued, to amuse and divert the age: as a Paradox in praise of a Paradox. Corporeal Affections remain after Separation. The Eye beholds as much when it looks on a Shilling, as when it speculates the whole Heaven. Inconstancy is a most commendable Virtue. Every Man is corporally born twice. No Man sees but he that is stark blind. The Restor’d Maidenhead, or a marry’d Woman may be twice a Virgin. Athenian, or Intellectual, Sport is the Recreation of Pre-Existent Spirits. ’tis the Pleasantest Life to be always in Danger. The same numerical Voice of a Preacher is not heard by any two of his Auditors. What we call Life, is Natural Death. Content is the greatest Misery. He is the Happiest Man who has neither Mony nor Friend. Fruition’s nothing, or a Paradox proving there’s no Pleasure in Copulation. To imprison a Debtor is to set him at Liberty. Green come from the Dead, or no Man lives but he that is Hang’d. The Virgin-Paradox, or a Young Lady may Love and Hate the same Person at the same Time. The Loving Shrew, or the Kindest Women are the most Cruel. And so on, to the Defence of 2000 Paradoxes (or Pleasant Theses) which seem Strange, and Contrary to the Common Opinion. With Improvements from the Honourable Mr. Boyle, Lock, Norris Collier, Cowley, Dryden, Garth, Addison, and other Illustrious Wit. By a member of the Athenian Society.

London, printed by B Bragg in Pater-noster-Row: 1707           $1600

Quarto  A8, a8, B-Z8, Aa-Mm8.   First edition.  This copy is bound in full original calf, a very nice copy.



No one would ever suggest that Dunton didn’t write as much as he could but, Dunton was a bit of an exaggerator, this book does not contains   in fact there are only 139.  The subjects here vary from the whimsical to the scatological, and the arrangement is haphazard, with a poem on toothache following an essay on cuckoldry, etc. Eight of the paradoxes are in fact by John Donne, though his name is nowhere mentioned – not even in the list of the title page. Among the paradoxes argued herein  ..”

Nescience: or, a paradox proving we know nothing.IMG_1260

He is the Happiest Man who has neither Mony nor Friend?

Fruition is nothing,

A Paradox proving there’s no Pleasure in Copulation.?

We live in Heaven: ….we are perfectly happy in this world. 

That only Cowards dare die.

If I had more time I would read every book bu Dunton. but in this book he writes in Paradox L. “that the shortest life is best” All of his books  are great, and Dunton’s style is polished, lovely prose which makes for an easily enjoyed read.

Dunton’s mind has, not inaptly, been compared to ‘a table, where the victuals were illsorted and worse dressed.’ He was born at Graffham, in Huntingdonshire, and, at an early age, sent to school, where he passed through the general series of boyish adventures and mishaps — robbing orchards, swallowing bullets, falling into rivers, in short, improving in everything but (book) learning, and not scrupling to tell lies when he could gain any advantage by concealing the truth. His family had been connected with the ministry for three generations; and though he felt prouder of this descent from the house of Levi, than if he had been a duke’s son, yet being of too volatile a disposition to follow in the footsteps of his reverend ancestors, he was apprenticed to Thomas Parkhurst, a noted Presbyterian bookseller of the day, at the sign of the Bible and Three Crowns, Cheapside, London. Dunton and his master seem to have agreed very well together; a young lady, however, coming to visit Mr. Parkhurst’s family, the apprentice made love to her, and they met occasionally in Grocers’ Hall Garden; but the master making a ‘timely discovery,’ sent Miss Susanna back to her friends in the country…

His most fortunate speculation as a publisher, and of which he seems to have been proudest, was the Athenian Mercury, a weekly periodical. This work professed to answer all inquiries on matters of history, divinity, philosophy, love, or marriage. It had a great success, many men of mark were contributors, and it flourished for six years; till the great increase of similar publications of a lighter character caused Dunton to give it up.


Parks, Dunton, 339; Keynes, Donne, 46a; CBEL II, 344; Halkett & Lang I, 156.

This fine book has some interesting book plates in it.

The demonstration of Antichrist

This rare[N.America :Folger & Huntington (only) ] little book in quite a formal way “And this we thus proue:” By quoting Church fathers, from Clemens Romanus to St Augustine, that the Pope must be the Anti-christ.

What a place to begin!


*** 670G   Gurnay, Edmund.      1577±1648

The demonstration of Antichrist. By Edmund Gurnay, Bach. Theol. p. of Harpley Norfolke London:Printed by I[ohn] B[eale] for Iames Boler, and are to be sold at the signe of the Marigold in Pauls Churchyard 1631                      $2,900

Octavo, 5 1/4 X 3 1/4 inches. First edition A12,B5{ lacking b6 Blank}. This copy is bound in calf boards rebacked.

Gurney matriculated at Queens’ College, Cambridge, on 30 October 1594, and DSC_0007graduated B.A. in 1600. He was elected Norfolk fellow of Corpus Christi College in 1601, proceeded to M.A. in 1602, and B.D. in 1609. In 1607 he was suspended from his fellowship for not being in orders, but was reinstated by the vice-chancellor. In 1614 he left Cambridge, on being presented to the rectory of Edgefield, Norfolk, which he held till 1620, when he received that of Harpley, Norfolk. Gurney was inclined to puritanism, as appears from his writings. On one occasion he was cited to appear before the bishop for not using a surplice, and on being told he was expected to always wear it, ‘came home, and rode a journey with it on.’

He further made his citation the occasion for publishing his tract vindicating the Second Commandment. Thomas Fuller, who was personally acquainted with him, says:

‘He was an excellent scholar, could be humourous, and would be serious as he was himself disposed. His humours were never prophane towards God or injurious towards his neighbours.’

Gurney died in 1648. Gurney was married, and apparently had a son called Protestant (d. 1624—monument at Harpley). DNB STC (2nd ed.), 12529 [Stationer’s Register: Entered 29 January [1631.] Copies – N.America :Folger & Huntington (only) Fuller’s Worthies, p. 258, ed. 1652

British Library Item details – Standard format



HEE that professeth himselfe the su­preme head of the Church of Christ,(and that is granted) and yet forceth men, vpon paine of death, (both temporal and eternal) to blaspheme Christ.

Because it cannot be imagined how any power vpon earth can more cunningly, and out of a dee­per mysterie doe Christ such v­niuersall mischiefe.

But the Pope of Rome does professe himselfe the Supreme head of the Church of Christ, (and that is granted) and yet for­ceth men vpon paine of death, (both temporall and eternall) to blaspheme Christ.

And this we thus proue:

Hee that forceth men vpon paine of death to grant, that there is no other Christ but He whose perfit Body, Soule, and Deity hath, for these 1600. yeers last past, beene ordinarily present amongst men vnder that particu­lar forme which immediately before the speaking of a few words was the forme of a sense­lesse creature, and in that forme does enter into the mouthes of liuing creatures▪ he forceth men to blaspheme Christ.

Because this position does blas­pheme,

  • The Manhood of Christ.
  • The God-head of Christ.
  • The Maiesty of Christ.
  • The Holinesse of Christ.
  • The Iustice of Christ.
  • The Mercy of Christ.
  • The Wisdome of Christ.
  • The Power and Word of Christ.

First, it blasphemes the man­hood  of Christ; because it giues Him such a Body as in the out­ward eyes of those that are pre­sent with Him hath no more si­militude with the body of a man than a chip or a stone.

Secondly, it blasphemeth His  God-head; because it supposeth the Creator to be ordinarily vni­ted vnto the forme of a creature.

Thirdly, it blasphemeth his Maiesty; because it giues Him ….



and Gurnay End with….


For though this law was en­acted when the Popes authority was suppressed, yet did it take the beginning from the Church of Rome: and a little after, in the reigne of Quene Mary, was exe­cuted to the full, by vertue of the Romish authority.

Our Demonstration there­fore is most plaine, and let hea­ […]en and earth bee Iudge of it.

Hee that professeth himselfe the Supreme head of the Church of Christ, and yet forceth men […]pon paine of death (both tem­porall and eternall) to blas­pheme Christ; hee is Anti­christ.

But the Pope of Rome so pro­fesseth, and so inforceth.

Therefore En & ecce Antichri­stum.







181J Psalterium Latinum. A early fifteenth century Manuscript Psalter  surrounded on every page by an untitled 18th century English History manuscript

181J Psalterium Latinum.

A early fifteenth century Manuscript

Psalter  surrounded on every page by an untitled 18th century English History manuscript.

                                 Tours, France circa 1430                       $95,000





Quarto: 19.5 X 14 cm. 171 parchment leaves plus 1 unsigned with vertical catchwords.

A fifteenth-century manuscript Psalter with an early eighteenth-century English manuscript written in the margins throughout. The English work is mainly historical with long polemical passages concerning the Church of England. The primary aim of the author, who writes with a strong Catholic bias, is to demonstrate the illegitimacy of the reformed Church. This copy has been recently rebound in appropriate style , of full calf and clasps.



This psalter has a long English Provenance, stretching back to the first quarter of the sixteenth-century, when this Psalter was owned by Alice Lupset, the mother of the English humanist Thomas Lupset (See below for a full discussion.)


The Psalter:


The illuminations in this volume is exquisite, with all of the large initials done in gold and colors, with great skill. The nine large (7-line) gilt initials are all accompanied by fullIMG_0743 illuminated borders containing leaves, fruit, flowers, and vines in many shades of blue, red, green, yellow, and orange, with gilded highlights. There are several other 4-line gilt initials in the text as well as many two and one –line initial letters.

IMG_0745This manuscript prayer book contains the complete text of the Psalms of David. The first 118 Psalms. These are followed by eighteen named Psalms(Beth, Gimel, et cetera) These are followed by Psalms 119 through 150 and, finally, eight other Psalms.




This manuscripts dates to ca 1430. None of the popular saints canonized in the 1440’s and 1450’s appear either in the calendar or in the litany of saints. This manuscript contains almost exclusively the names of universally honored saints and festival occasions for the church as its “red letter days”



1) The sixteenth century:

A sixteenth century inscription on the final leaf informing us that this book belonged to Alice Lupset (died 1543/4) wife of the goldsmith Thomas Lupset (died 1522/3) and mother of the English Humanist.


The Inscription reads:

“Thes boke belongeth unto syster Lupshed sum tyme the wife of Thomas Lupshed gol smyth”


A second shorter inscriptionapparently in the same hand reads:

“Lent to syster Baker”

The feast days for English saints have been added to the calendar in an early sixteenth century hand (for example Cuthbert lear 2 recto) In accordance with Henry VIII’sIMG_0737Proclamation of 1534 the word “Papa” has been duly erased from all entriesin the calendar bearing the names of popes. The Addition of English names(which are written in an English cursive hand similar to the one usedfor the ownership inscriptions) and the erasure of the word “

Pope’ were quite possibly made by Alice Lupset herself.

2) Now to the seventeenth-century. There is a single signature, only partly legible, on the final leaf: “George {???}”

3) The eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century: The ownership inscription of James Leatherbarrow appears on the first leaf and reads :


“Jas Leatherbarrow’s book 1751 No[vember] 13”

A nineteenth-century inscription on the rear flyleaf records the names of the subsequent owners of this manuscript: “This book belonged to James Leatherbarrow in 1751. See the name on the first page_by whom it was given to his Brother John Leatherbarrow, who gave it to his Daughter Mrs. Ann Lithgow, who gave it to her edest Daughter Mrs.Gasney & from her it came into the possession of her sister Elizabeth Lithgow. February 14, 1841” In another inscription John Lithgow identifies hiself as the son of Anne Lithgow.

From John Lithgow the manuscript passed to William Ormerod (1818-1860)


The English manuscript :IMG_0734

Surrounding, or rather filling the entire margins of the Psalter. The work is part religious, part history, and part chronicle. The, as of now, unidentified author’s purpose is to expose the usurpation of the Church and the throne of England by Protestants, beginning with Lord Somerset, and to demonstrate the legitimate authority of the Catholic Church by tracing the history of Christanity in England and chronicling – using lists excerpted from other sources- the succession of the kings and bishops of England. A number of printed and at least one manuscript work are quoted in full while others are digested or presented only in excerpt. The author of the manuscript then comments then comments upon these works, often at length, making the voices of our author and his sources difficult to parse.


The author cites a number of late seventeenth-century works, including Burnet’s “History of the Reformation”,and Jeremy Collier’s Historical Dictionary. A reference to John Harris’ Lexicon Technicum gives a terminus post quem of 1704.








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