(Basel: Johann Amerbach, not after 1489). 308 x 208 mm. (12 1/8 x 8 1/4").  leaves. FIRST EDITION.
Modern boards covered in incunabular leaves, with manuscript label on spine. Capitals struck in red, paragraph marks in red, numerous three-line initials alternating blue and red. A few contemporary annotations in the margins; title page with the inscription of the cloister of Saint Elisabeth in Runggad near Brixen, and with an erased stamp (of the same?). Goff B-346; BMC III, 757. Front joint with a two-inch crack to tail, head of spine a little tattered, edges a little bumped and rubbed, but otherwise an inoffensive and entirely sturdy binding. Title somewhat soiled and with small open tears to edges (text not affected), minor fraying at fore edge of first few leaves, final leaf with inconsequential paper flaws and a soiled (blank) verso, other trifling imperfections, but the bulk of the contents especially clean and fresh. A flawed, but still pleasing copy.
This is a well-preserved, vigorously and attractively rubricated copy of a text by one of the most celebrated orators of the 15th century, issued by one of the most important Swiss printers of the incunabular period. Known as the "Apostle of Italy," the Franciscan preacher and missionary Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444), was an ardent reformer who gave his sermons in the vernacular and, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "everywhere adapted himself to the local dialect and parlance" in order to reach the masses. So great was his influence and popularity that Bernardine was canonized only six years after his death and remains one of the most highly venerated saints in Italy to this day. The present work, containing 66 sermons for Lent and Easter, is one of two major collections of Saint Bernardine's sermons printed in the incunabular period (the other is "Quadragesimale de Evangelio Aeterno," printed the same year, also by Amerbach). According to Pollard, our printer Amerbach (1430-1513) issued the first book from his Basel establishment in 1478, and in his career printed about 100 incunabula, all in Latin and mostly works on theology or Bibles. He was the first printer in his city to use roman type. He also used several fonts that are nearly identical to those of Anton Koberger of Nuremberg, for whom he likely worked at some point in his career. Although this work is held fairly widely in institutions, it is surprisingly rare on the marketplace; we could trace only five copies at auction since 1940. (ST13852)
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PJP Catalog: CA18BF.051