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Title: [Sermones de tempore et de sanctis]. (Colophon: Zwolle, [Johannes de Vollenhoe], 1479). Small (Chancery) folio (27.5 x 20.5 cm). With one 5-line and hundreds of 2- and 3-line spaces left for initials, filled in with manuscript "Lombardic" capitals in red; manuscript paragraph marks in red; and capitals rubricated throughout. Set entirely in a single textura gothic type (103 mm/20 lines) in 2 columns of 39 lines to the page. Early 18th-century tanned sheepskin.
Description: , . . BMC IX, p. 80; Goff B948; GW 4810; L. & W. Hellinga, "Bibliographical vicissitudes of Johannes de Vellenhoe", in: Gutenberg Jahrbuch (1966), pp. 91-101; Hellinga, Printing types I, pp. 41-42; ISTC ib00948000; Proctor 9122; Vijfhonderdste verjaring v.d. boekdrukkunst in de Nederlanden (1973), pp. 328-332. First edition of a collection of Latin sermons for the entire year, spuriously attributed to the Italian Franciscan Saint Bonaventura (1221-1274), still popular today and still published under his name. The great majority were actually written by his fellow Franciscan Servasanctus de Faenza (d. ca. 1300), renowned for writing sermons that blended learning with popular themes and for his positive view of penance as a process for healing ills, rather than a punishment for sins. No earlier dated book is known to have been printed at Zwolle, but a single surviving fragmentary copy of an almanac for the year 1478 was probably printed there late in 1477 and a few undated books may have been printed there in 1478 (within the borders of today's Netherlands, only Utrecht had a clearly documented printing office before 1477). Three Zwolle books are dated 1479 and one of those is dated 21 December 1479, so either the present folio edition of sermons or (less likely) the quarto edition of Pope John XXI, Summulae logicales (98 ll.), also dated 1479 with no further specification, appears to be the first dated publication. The printing office that produced all these works was formerly thought to have been established by Peter van Os, but it is now thought to have been established by Johannes de Vollenhoe and taken over by Van Os, probably after 21 December 1479 and certainly before 14 April 1480. The present book is by far its most extensive production before 1480.The earliest recorded printed leaf numbers and quire signatures both date from ca. 1470, and printers in the Low Countries introduced them later than printers in Italy and Germany. The present book has neither leaf numbers nor signatures in the normal sense of the word, but its double-page openings have alphanumeric labels as headlines. The double-page openings have a series number (running from i to xiiii) centred in the right headline and a letter (running from a to z followed by "&", giving 24 characters) centred in the left headline. In this early period when conventions remained fluid, Vollenhoe was clearly experimenting. Margaret M. Smith, "Printed foliation: ...", Gutenberg-Jahrbuch (1988), pp. 54-70, records few examples of numbered double-page openings and none before ca. 1482, and mentions no system like the present one.In the various copies of Vollenhoe's 1479 collection of Servasanctus's sermons, about 70% of the pages can be found in either of two different states, with the text of these pages entirely reset, page for page but not quite line for line. Since several of its sheets can have one forme in the first setting and the other in the second setting, the resetting must have begun during the initial press run. The combining of formes from two different settings in quires other than D-K and N-P seems to be unrecorded, so the present copy makes an important contribution to our knowledge of this important and innovative publication. It will be an essential aid in any attempt to understand the complicated printing history of this book. The initial blank leaf a1 appears to survive, but the other three blank leaves are absent. With a full-page Latin religious text on the recto of the blank a1 in a contemporary hand, occasional (sometimes extensive) contemporary and later marginal manuscript notes, and an inscription shaved at the head of the contents. With one leaf detached, the last leaf reattached (to a paper stub) at an early date, a few of the headlines shaved, a couple worm holes in the foot margin in the first third of the book and a tear running a few mm into the text of one leaf, but otherwise in good condition. The binding is shabby, with the sides rubbed and some damage to the backstrip, hinges and corners. The most important of the earliest books printed in Zwolle: the first edition of 13th-century sermons still popular today and a fascinating early experiment with printed alphanumeric labels for double-page openings.

Keywords: Early Printing 15th & 16th Century, Catholicism, Book History, Printing & Typography, *RELIGION & DEVOTION, *BOOK HISTORY & PRINTING

Price: EUR 35000.00 = appr. US$ 38039.64 Seller: A. Asher & Co. B.V.
- Book number: 2216

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