MIRK, John (fl. 1400). Liber festivalis, in English. - Quattuor sermones, in English. Rouen: Martin Morin, for Jean Richard, 22 June 1499.
4° (186 x 124mm). Collation: a-z8 \\i \\n 98. 182 leaves (of 208, lacking a8 b1-5, l1-4, \\n4-8 98). 31 lines and headline with foliation. Woodcut historiated and decorative initials, [title woodcut, publisher's device at end, both missing]. Type: 7:130G, 97G. (Some staining, few headlines shaved, small wormtrack at end affecting a few letters.) 18th-century calf-backed boards, leather spine label (rubbed, label lifting). Provenance: a few contemporary marginal annotations.
Written in the 1380s by Mirk, an Austin canon at Lilleshall, Shropshire, the Festial was a popular preaching tool for parish priests, containing sermons, exempla and Bible excerpts. It circulated in numerous manuscripts and printed editions into the second quarter of the 16th century. Except for the first, 1483, edition, all printed editions derive from the second edition, printed at Oxford by Rood and Hunt in 1486 (cf. S. Powell, Prolegomena to a new edition of the Festial, Working papers in literary and cultural studies, University of Salford, no. 18, 1995). RARE: only four other copies are recorded, at least two of which are also imperfect; only one copy of any edition (c.1506) has been sold at auction in over 30 years. The main text type appears to have been cut specifically for this edition. H 7031=7035; BMC VIII, 398 (IA. 43973); Bod-Inc. M-241; STC 17966; Duff 314; Goff Suppl. M-623a.