• Fine Printed Books and Manuscr auction at Christies

    Sale 2227

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    4 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 35

    [DONNE, John, his copy]. SERARIO, Nicholas (1555-1609). Rabbini, et herodes. Mainz: Balthasar Lippius, 1607.

    Price Realised  


    [DONNE, John, his copy]. SERARIO, Nicholas (1555-1609). Rabbini, et herodes. Mainz: Balthasar Lippius, 1607.

    Two parts in one, 8o. Sectional title to second part. Woodcut initials, woodcut and typographic headpieces. (Some occasional pale browning.) Contemporary limp vellum (front inner hinge broken, some dampstaining and soiling, a few small repairs); half green morocco slipcase.

    Provenance: JOHN DONNE (inscription and signature on title); Charles Bonnard (signature on title); Harold Greenhill (bookplate); H. Bradley Martin (bookplate, his sale Sotheby's New York, 30 April 1990, lot 2796).

    JOHN DONNE'S COPY, with his signature "J. Donne" at foot of title and Latin motto at top: "Per Rachel ho servito, & non per Lea" and with more than 150 pages containing Donne's characteristic pencil markings. Taken from Petrarch (Canz. xix, st. 7.1), "Donne's reason for using this motto was obscure until Mr. Percy Simpson made the suggestion that he was referring to the medieval symbolism whereby Rachel represented the contemplative life and Leah the active. Her implied in this way that circumstances had forced on him a life of action though his inclination was for study and contemplation" (Keynes).

    Keynes notes that with an excess of two hundred books identified from Donne's library, that his "erudition and virtuosity in ecclesiastical polemics [were] founded on hard reading and familiarity with contemporary writings." His marginal markings are short horizontal or diagonal rules, crosses, wavy lines or braces. The Jesuit Nicholas Serario was Professor of Theology at Wurzburg and Mainz. He was best known for his exegetical works, and his polemical writings against Luther and some of his followers. Donne also owned Serario's Trihaeresium (1604). Grolier Donne 120; Keynes Donne L166. BOOKS FROM DONNE'S LIBRARY ARE NOW VERY SCARCE ON THE MARKET.

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