(Basel: Michael Wenssler, 29 May 1479). 420 x 280 mm. (16 1/2 x 11 1/4").  leaves (of 274; lacking initial blank). Double column, 60 lines to the page, gothic type.
Imposing 17th or 18th century blind-stamped pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, covers with multiple concentric frames of blind rules and foliate or palmette rolls, central panel of upper cover with oval wreath containing the figure of a haloed, hooded monk (St. Bernard?) holding a book and a lily, that of the lower cover with supralibros of the Carthusian monastery of Mauerbach in Austria; raised bands, two original brass clasps (lacking the head of one rivet attaching a strap). Rubricated and with hand-painted initials in red. Goff C-195; BMC III, 726; ISTC ic00195000. Binding a bit soiled and rubbed, but quite sound; isolated trivial smudges or stains, a handful of small wormholes to margins of last few quires, but AN EXCEPTIONALLY FRESH AND CLEAN COPY INTERNALLY, WITH VAST MARGINS.
This is a very attractive copy, with amazingly fresh leaves, of an imposing collection of sermons on sin for use in the penitential Church seasons of Advent and Lent, issued by one of the first printers in Basel. One of the few 15th century authors to have his works printed during his lifetime, Milan-born Franciscan friar Michael de Carcano (1427-84) delivered sermons over a period of nearly 30 years in most of the major cities of northern and central Italy, including Florence, Milan, Mantua, Bologna, Venice, and Perugia. He was especially known for inveighing against usury--which he extended into virulent anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish money lenders--and was instrumental in the founding of "montes pietatis," non-profit charitable institutions that lent money at modest rates. Originally from Strassburg, Michael Wenssler (ca. 1445-1512?) matriculated at the University of Basel in 1462, and issued the first book from his press 10 years later. He was one of the first three printers at work in the city, where he operated a press that employed as many as 30 people and produced more than 150 works. Financial problems led him to flee the city in 1491, and he was subsequently found printing in Lyon, Mâcon, and Cluny. The Mauerbach Charterhouse on the outskirts of Vienna was founded in 1314, and continued as a monastery until 1782, despite onslaughts by forces of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries. (ST15113)
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PJP Catalog: SE19BF.057