MECHTILD (c.1241-1298) and GERTRUDE THE GREAT (1256-1301). Das buch geistlicher gnaden, offenbarunge, wunderliches unde beschawlichen lebens der heiligenn iungfrawen Mechtildis und Gertrudis. Leipzig: Melchior Lotter, 1503. [Bound after:] Von wem und wie gas iunckfrawen closter Helffede [...] gestifftet und vorandert wurden. Leipzig: Martin Landsberg, 1503.
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MECHTILD (c.1241-1298) and GERTRUDE THE GREAT (1256-1301). Das buch geistlicher gnaden, offenbarunge, wunderliches unde beschawlichen lebens der heiligenn iungfrawen Mechtildis und Gertrudis. Leipzig: Melchior Lotter, 1503. [Bound after:] Von wem und wie gas iunckfrawen closter Helffede [...] gestifftet und vorandert wurden. Leipzig: Martin Landsberg, 1503.

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MECHTILD (c.1241-1298) and GERTRUDE THE GREAT (1256-1301). Das buch geistlicher gnaden, offenbarunge, wunderliches unde beschawlichen lebens der heiligenn iungfrawen Mechtildis und Gertrudis. Leipzig: Melchior Lotter, 1503. [Bound after:] Von wem und wie gas iunckfrawen closter Helffede [...] gestifftet und vorandert wurden. Leipzig: Martin Landsberg, 1503.

The first edition of a major work of 13th-century German mysticism, based on the visions of Saints Gertrude and Mechtild.

2 works in one volume, 4to (215 x 145mm). With the final blank (short worm track in the inside top margin of most leaves, faint dampstain in the bottom margin of some leaves.) Contemporary blind-tooled calf, front board titled in blind near the top, central panel filled with a strap-work pattern, brass fore edge catch and clasp, bound without free endpapers and reusing printed waste as pastedowns (early reback in pigskin, the strap perhaps restored). Provenance: an early reader (quatrain in German on the title with the signature deleted; and a deleted stamp, perhaps related).

The Book of Special Grace was a devotional work popular both north and south of the Alps: Boccaccio records that Florentines regularly quoted Mechtild during their prayers, and The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that Dante’s Matelda (cf. Purgatorio, cantos xxvii-xxviii) refers to Mechtild rather than the Tuscan warrior-countess. Adams M-891; VD16 M-1784 and ZV-24621.
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Robert Tyrwhitt
Robert Tyrwhitt

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