(London: Guilielmi Stanesbeij, ex officinis Richardi Meighen & Thomae Dew, 1623). 320 x 202 mm. (12 5/8 x 8"). 3 p.l. (lacking initial blank), XVI, 218 pp.Edited by John Selden from a manuscript in the Cotton Library. FIRST EDITION.
Contemporary calf, covers with later gilt supralibros of the Society of Writers to the Signet at center, raised bands, rebacked preserving original backstrip, red morocco label (repairs to cracked front joint and to ends of spine). With two woodcuts of seals in the text. Occasional neat marginalia in an early hand. STC 7438; ESTC S121437. Small chip to head of spine and to a couple of bands, extremities a bit rubbed, but the binding solid and not without appeal. A little offsetting and foxing to edges of first and last leaves from turn-in glue, a couple of trivial ink stains to title page, occasional minor marginal stains or smudges, but an excellent copy internally, clean and fresh.
This is the first edition in print of the "Historia Novorum" composed by the Benedictine monk Eadmer (ca. 1060 - not after 1126) beginning in the late 11th century; it is a valuable source of information on Anglo-Saxon life and culture before the Norman conquest. Eadmer joined the Benedictines at Christ Church, Canterbury, when he was very young, and eventually became keeper of the chapel and confidante to Archbishop Anselm (canonized in 1494). When he set out to write Anselm's biography, he divided it, unusually, into two works: the "Vita," describing Anselm's private life and conversations, and the "Historia" covering his public proclamations and acts. DNB observes, "Both works are particularly remarkable for their use of recorded speech, chiefly from Anselm but also from other fascinating personalities." Eadmer had two principal aims for the "Historia": preserving the memory of Anglo-Saxon saints and other traditions threatened by the invading Normans, and seeking to establish Canterbury's primacy over York as the seat of the church in England. His efforts in the latter regard--including a 1116 trip to Rome to plead Canterbury's case before the pope--were unsuccessful in his time, but Canterbury would eventually prevail as the seat of the Anglican communion. Our binding bears the insignia of the Society of Writers to the Signet, an association of Scottish solicitors established in 1594. Copies of this work appear on the market infrequently (we could trace just three at auction since 1977), and they are almost never as well preserved as the present example. (ST16215b)
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PJP Catalog: ABA1stNov20.015