[Deventer], [Richard Pafraet] c. 1483/5.
8vo (143 x 103 mm.). p. Gothic type, 21 lines per page, contemporary rubricated two-line initials, chapter summaries and text majuscules and the names of Church Fathers underlined in red.
Contemporary dark calf (worn, minor defects) over shaped wooden boards (high in the middle and sloping towards all four edges), diapered panels with small circular tools in the interstices (12 impressions on rear), spine with three double-cords (front joint partly cracked), evidence of a single clasp and catch.
First Edition: A PILLAR OF THE DEVOTIO MODERNA BY A PILLAR OF THE DEVOTIO MODERNA. Its communities of men and women lived together in complete equality, refused formal monastic vows and followed monastic patterns in their daily lives (silence, obedience, fraternal correction and canonical hours).
This manual guides the pious to divine intimacy through meditation and practical action, including THE COPYING OF BOOKS (cap. 67). It was his most popular work and, in print, appeared only in small format. Because he employed suasion to effect religious reform, he was claimed by Catholics and Protestants alike in the 16th century. An excerpt of spiritual advice by David of Augsburg (d. 1272) occupies the final four leaves.
Pafraet was the first printer in Deventer, long a center of the movement and for some time the author’s home. A good copy in original condition (a few pages dusty), a half-dozen uncut lower margins and several dozen only partially trimmed, scattered contemporary manuscript notes in red ink, early 17th-century manuscript title inscription, pencil notes of Georges Petit (1878-1956) recording his purchase in January 1949.
The front vellum endleaf fragment is from a 14th-century manuscript written in northern France or Flanders. The side once pasted to the inside front cover bears fourteen lines of prayers to the Virgin Mary. That facing the printed text was scraped clean prior to binding.
¶Campbell, Annales de la typographie néerlandaise au XVe siècle 797; GW 10686; ISTC ig00174000 (three U.S. copies); Goff G-174.