MENUHIN, Yehudi. Unfinished Journey

London, MacDonald and Jane’s, 1977.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo, pp. 393. Black buckram, gilt title to spine. Author’s presentation copy, inscribed on front endpaper with dedication to John Symonds: “For the residents / of the Newton Home, / all best wishes / Yehudi Menuhin / May 1977. Original dust jacket. An excellent copy.


PHILOSTRATUS (Blount, Charles, Tr.) The Two First Books, of Philostratus, Concerning the Life of Apollonius Tyaneus…

London, Printed for Nathaniel Thompson, 1680.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. (viii) 243 (i), A-2G4 2H6. Roman and Italic letter. Title-page in black and red. Full-page woodcut chart on p. 145. Bound in contemporary mottled calf with morocco panels, blind-tooled and rebacked; covers, edges and corners restored. Inner hinges reinforced with woven tape. Some waterstaining throughout, a little light browning. A good copy.

Philostratus “the Athenian” was a Greek sophist of the Roman Imperial period. He is remembered for two works in particular: Lives of the Sophists and Life of Apollonius of Tyana. The latter was written between 217 and 238 AD, and tells the story of Apollonius of Tyana (c. 40 – c. 120 AD), a Pythagorean philosopher and teacher. Philostratus wrote the book for Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus and mother of Caracalla. The translator Charles Blount (1653-1693) was one of the leading deists of his time. He published the first of his major works, Anima Mundi, in 1679. It is an essay on pagan doctrines about the nature of the human soul and its destiny in the afterlife, drawing heavily on Montaigne. His Philostratus consists largely of his own notes to Philostratus, with roughly four pages of Blount to one of Philostratus. His commentary draws attention to analogies between Christ and Apollonius of Tyana, the miracle working mystic (or sham magician) Greek philosopher born just before Christ. John Leland in his View of the Principal Deistical Writers (1754) notes that Blount’s work was “manifestly intended to strike at revealed religion.” Justin A.I. Champion in The Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century British Philosophers notes: “The classical texts with its parallel between the life of the magus Apollonius and Christ was problematic enough; the inclusion of a digest of skeptical materialist, and irreligious material unencumbered with warnings of heterodoxy was to provide a provocative and dangerous resource to the literature public. There were consequently moves to have the work suppressed and even burnt.”

ESTC R4123; Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), P2132


HUTTEN, Ulrich von, et al.


HUTTEN, Ulrich von, et al.. Duo volumina epistolarum obscurorum virorum,…

Rome, s.n. (=Frankfurt am Main, David Zöpfel), 1557.


12mo, ff. [252], A-X12. Two volumes in one. Roman letter. First title within floriated borders, second on K5r with no borders, no imprint (fake place of publication on last) and a short poem exhorting the reader to forget about sadness and grief, and laugh at everything. Two woodcut initials, one for each volume at the beginning of the text. Title page slightly soiled, marginal yellowing. Marbled pastedowns, bookplate of the Harvard College Library (“the Gift of Mary Bryant Brandegee in Memory of William Fletcher Weld”) to front pastedown. T-p and first leaf with blind letterpress of the Harvard University Library. In late C19th gilt-ruled calf with embossed diamond-shaped floral decoration at centre, title on red morocco label to gilt spine, inner dentelles, a.e.g.

This is a pocket reprint of the Letters of Obscure Men, a celebrated collection of satirical Neo-Latin letters, which appeared between 1515–1519 in Hagenau, Germany. The collection was soon forbidden by the Catholic Church, since the letter supported the humanist Johann Reuchlin and they mock the doctrines and modes of living of the scholastics and monks, mainly by pretending to be letters from fanatical Christian theologians discussing whether all Jewish books should be burned as un-Christian or not. The work was based upon the real public dispute between Reuchlin and certain Dominican monks, especially a formerly Jewish convert who had obtained Imperial authority to burn all known copies of the Talmud in 1509. The title is a reference to Reuchlin’s 1514 book Letters of Bright Men, a collection of learned letters from eminent scholars such as von Hutten, Johann Crotus, Konrad Mutian, Helius Eobanus Hessus, and others, to show that Reuchlin’s position in the controversy with the monks was approved by very erudite men. The present letters are written in a deliberately bad Latin. Most of these letters are addressed to the German scholar and theologian Ortwin and contain mock accusations against him. The collection was published anonymously, and the authorship has been a fertile subject of controversy, but the main portion of the letters are attributed to the humanists Joahnn Crotus, Ulrich von Hutten, Erasmus, and Reuchlin. The work is credited with hastening the Protestant Reformation.

 Edit 16 CNCE 51186: “Contraffazione tedesca stampata probabilmente a Francoforte da David Zopfel”; VD16 E 1726; Benzing, Hutten 247.


TORTORA, Agostino

De vita Hieronymi Æmiliani Congregationis Somaschæ fundatoris libri IV

Milan, Apud Haeredes Pacifici pontii et Joannem Battistam Piccaleum, 1620.


FIRST EDITION, 8vo, (xx), 64 [i.e. 274], (xxvi), †10 A-T8. Roman letter, a little Italic. Title within fine engraved architectonical border, a few mm of the upper margin of the title page cut away. Full-page portrait of the Saint Girolamo Emiliani on verso of †10. Decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Autorgaph in early hand on tp. In contemporary limp vellum; spine with ink title, worn headcap and little hole. A fine copy.

This is the first edition of this work in Latin by Agostino Tortora, who was General of the Somaschi Fathers, the ecclesiastical congregation founded by Girolamo Emiliani (1486-1537). This biography of the Saint in divided into four books. Born to Angelo Miani e Dianora Morosini, both members of important senatorial patrician families of the Republic of Venice, Girolamo had a reckless and troublesome youth. According to tradition, he indulged in all the pleasures of life and became a soldier fighting in the early C16th Northern Italian wars against the invading French army. Only once made captive, he embraced religion, after long solitary meditations in prison. Somasca was the secluded hamlet where Girolamo started his new life as a cleric. He stated the principal work of the community was the care of orphans, poor and sick, and demanded that dwellings, food and clothing would bear the mark of religious poverty.

GUEVARA, Antonio de


GUEVARA, Antonio de. Vita, gesti, costumi, discorsi, et lettere di Marco Aurelio imperatore…

Venice, appresso Francesco Bindoni, 1559.


8vo, pp. (xxxii) 287 (i), a-b8 A-S8. Italic letter, a little Roman. Title-page vignette of a human arm coming out of a cloud, bearing a candelabrum with the divine Eye of Providence above the kindle. Decorated initials, a large ms. manicula on p. 98, occasional underlining. Early autograph/inscription on t-p of “A. R. P. Mons. [Al Reverendo Padre Monsignor?] Philippi Tommasini…” (given that this is a biographical and anecdotal work  dedicated to a great learned man of the past, could this person be identified with Cardinal Giacomo Filippo Tomasini 1595-1655, the erudite and early historian of Italian literature who compiled collections of biographies and anecdotes regarding the most important writers of the tradition?). Browning and spotting throughout, some soiling and waterstaining. Two blurred library stamps, on t-p and blank verso of final leaf (Cardinals coat of arms in the centre). Bound in stiff early vellum.

Antonio de Guevara (1481-1545) was a Franciscan monk, historian, Bishop of Guadix (1528) and Mondoñedo (1537). Born is Asturias, he died in Villadolid. This work is devoted to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and it illustrates: “his life, deeds, habits, speeches and letters”. He has always been considered as a virtuous historic character for his exemplary life, deserving imitation. Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century humanists, and generally the Western tradition, have always highly appreciated the figure of Marcus Aurelius in his capacity of just ruler and wise philosopher. The printer Francesco Bindoni, called the Younger, was active in Venice and took the printing press over from his father Francesco Bindoni the Elder. His offspring continued the activity after him.