BONAVENTURA, Saint (1221-1274). Soliloquium. [Strassburg: Heinrich Eggestein, not after 1474].
Royal 4o in half sheets and chancery 20 (283 x 188 mm). Collation: [18(5+1) 210 36] (1/1r text, 3/5v colophon). 24 leaves (of 25, without the final blank). 41 lines. Type 5:93G. Three- or four-line initial spaces. Rubricated with simple red Lombard initials, capital strokes, underlines and paragraph marks. The first two quires are quarto, the last folio. (The first page slightly soiled, 1/1.8 reinforced at inner margin, some discoloration to inner margins, faint dampstains to outer margins, small wormtrack to blank margin of first 10 leaves.) 19th-century half morocco, marbled sides, padded with 19th-century paper (some wear to extremities, headcap partially detached).
Provenance: Egidius Spilberger, canon of Gars (Canons Regular of St. Augustine, Gars am Inn, Bavaria): purchase inscription dated 74 on 3/5v, continuing with a calculation of the number of years from the creation to the birth of Christ and then to the present, concluding with a pious distich addressed to the Virgin Mary; another inscription on 1/1r giving the date: Anno domini 74.
FIRST EDITION. The Soliloquium, a compendium of St. Bonaventure's mystical teaching, was one of his most popular works. Cast in the form of a dialogue between man and the soul, it includes many citations from the spiritual teachings of the Fathers of the Church. The work was printed a number of times in the fifteenth century; there were at least eight editions in Latin, as many in Dutch, and one in Spanish. Heinrich Eggestein, Strassburg's second printer, probably learned printing in Mainz ca. 1455-1459. He may have worked with Johann Mentelin in the early days of Mentelin's press, and the activity of his own shop extended at least from 1466 until 1483.
The distribution of formats in this copy is the same as in the British Library copy, only the last quire being folio. BMC describes the first quire incorrectly as consisting of ten leaves, including an initial blank, but GW and BSB-Ink. note that this gathering is composed of nine leaves only. In the present copy, the blank stub conjugate to 1/5+1 is clearly visible. Like this copy, the second copy in Munich was also dated 1474 by its rubricator.
ONE OF ONLY TWO COPIES IN NORTH AMERICA, according to ISTC. H 3483*; BMC I, 72 (IB. 783); BSB-Ink. B-674; CIBN B-638; GW 4688; Pr 287; Goff B-953.