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James Boswell’s Book of Company at Auchinleck.
The Book of Company is much more than a visitor’s book, since James Boswell comments on the men and women he met and entertained, and the occasions of his doing so, are all his own. It is therefore an important addition to his many-sided self-portrait. Beginning in 1782, two years before Samuel Johnson died, and ending five months before Boswell’s own death in May 1795, it reflects Boswell’s anguished uncertainties, as well as the everyday details of where he was, with whom he dined, whom he saw in the evening and – punctually recorded – how many bottles of wine and spirits were dispatched. The book is here reproduced in full facsimile, interleaved with a transcript on facing pages. At the foot of each page is a commentary, largely drawn from Boswell’s correspondence and journals, which converts it into a comprehensive day by day diary of his thoughts and actions throughout the period.
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the Canon of the Mass; a fragment of a bifolium (a single leaf preserving a small section only of the conjoint leaf), single columns written in dark brown ink in a tall late romanesque bookhand, 21 lines remaining, ruled in ink, four two-line initials on verso alternately in blue and red with contrasting penwork (two being monograms of ‘V’ and ‘D’ for 'Vere dignum'), one five-line and one six-line initial on verso with red penwork in a leafy design, rubrics; recovered from use in a binding and with consequent creasing and staining, trimmed with loss of several lines at foot, verso soiled and worn. 218 x 191 mm
At the end of the first line on the recto is the rubric ‘infra actionem’, immediately before the prayer ‘Communicantes et diem sacratissimam celebrantes’. The expression ‘infra actionem’ originally referred to a variable formula to be inserted within the fixed text on special occasions, and signified that the following text was to be inserted ‘within the action’. Thus it is probable that the prayer ‘Communicantes’ was not originally a fixed part of the Canon but was inserted on special feasts. Gradually it was transformed into a permanent fixture, with some variant formulas on special feasts.
DEVOTIONAL EMBLEM BOOK WITH RUBENS TITLE-PAGE HAEFTEN, Benedictus van.
Regia via crucis.
First edition of an important counter-reformation devotional emblem book, with a title-page designed by Peter Paul Rubens. Haeften (1588-1648) was provost of the Benedictine abbey of Affligem, Belgium, and played an important role in the reform of the Benedictine order. The Regia via crucis was his most important work, running to over 40 editions, including translations into Dutch, French, Spanish and other languages. The work was intended ‘to provide the (Catholic) reader with a good understanding of the significance of the Stations of the Cross, to inspire imitation of Christ’s example, and thereby to become acquainted with the way to the Kingdom of God. The rather abstract spiritual journey that the human soul had to make towards this goal is made more concrete by the ... selection of such principal figures as the Virgins Anima – the personification of the human soul – and Staurophila – a Greek name that literally means the one who adores the cross. Their experiences in the imitation of Christ and the resulting lessons of life were nothing else but allegorical examples that were to lead every reader to the just and good. The engraved illustrations are very important in this regard as they support the meaning of the text in a simple and clear emblematic manner.’ (The illustration of books published by the Moretuses p. 118-9).