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GROSS, Erhart (d. ca.1450). Doctrinal für die Leyen. [Strassburg: Heinrich Knoblochtzer, about 1478-79].

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GROSS, Erhart (d. ca.1450). Doctrinal für die Leyen. [Strassburg: Heinrich Knoblochtzer, about 1478-79].

Chancery 2° (270 x 200mm). Collation: [110 2-58 6-76] (1/1 blank, 1/2r tabula, 1/3v woodcut, text, 7/6v blank). 54 leaves. 32 lines. Type: 1:121G. Woodcut of a master and his pupils (Heitz-Schreiber 75) on 1/3v, 3- to 7-line initials in red, or blue, red and purple, several with extensions, by an early hand in a naive style, rubricator's (?) initials "FS" on 1/6v, some printed guide-letters, formerly part of a Sammelband, with leather index tab on fo. 1/3v. (One short marginal tear, one bifolium browned.) Old pigskin over wooden boards blindstamped with double and triple fillets forming central panel of lozenges, single fore-edge clasp, vellum pastedowns, vellum quire guards, a remboitage, modern half blue morocco box. Provenance: contemporary initials F.S., possibly the rubricator.

Second edition of a moral treatise for laymen. Gross, a Carthusian in the Marienzelle convent at Nuremberg, outlines in short chapters spiritual advice, such as prayer, knowledge of God, love of the eternal life, and speaking to God, and also practical advice, such as how to treat one's parents, wife, and neighbours, and explicates the vices and virtues. The Doctrinal was his most popular work, being printed four times in the 15th century, but his free reworking of the last book of Boccaccio's Decameron into the Grisardis, independent of Petrarch's version, was in some ways more signficant as being an early introduction of that Renaissance work into Germany.

This is the first use of this woodcut depicting a master and his pupils. The present edition has been assigned variously to the Printer of Henricus Ariminensis or an anonymous shop, but current opinion assigns it to Heinrich Knoblochtzer's first shop at Strassburg, dated to about 1478-9 on paper evidence. See Walsh Harvard for a summary of the type evidence, and Ziesche/Schnitger Heldenbuch, nach dem ältesten Druck in Abbildung, ed. J. Heinzle, 1987, p.176, nr. 15 (cited by BSB) for paper evidence. RARE, only one copy in America. BSB G-377; H *8084; Sack (Freiburg) 1678; Walsh Harvard I, 130; Schreiber 4123; Goff G-510.
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