MICHAEL DE HUNGARIA. Sermones tredecim universales praedicabiles per totum annum [with other sermons]. [Louvain: Johannes de Westfalia, ca. 1484-85].
Chancery 4o (212 x 137 mm). Collation: A10 B-N8 O6 P-Q8 (A1 blank, A2r alphabetical index, B1r colophon of table, B1v blank, B2r Sermones tredicim, O4r Sermo de passione Christi, etc., Q7v explicit, Q8 blank). 127 leaves (of 128, without the final blank). 30 lines. Type: 2:118G (Hellinga type 2B: verses on B2r), 1:89GC (Helling type 1D). 2- and 3-line spaces for initials. One-line impression of bearer type on last leaf. Single pinhole evident in lower outer margins throughout. (Some minor staining or soiling, a few corners creased, occasional small marginal tears, F1 torn along gutter.) Contemporary wooden boards, possibly English, leather covering removed exposing sewing structure, lower vellum pastedown preserved (now detached); many deckle edges preserved; modern folding cloth case.
Provenance: John Sewell, contemporary English owner (inscription on K6v, marginal notes in Latin and English, notes, doodles and musical notation on vellum endleaf at back) -- 17th-century Latin notes in an English hand (B1v) -- Nathan Comfort Starr (1896-1981).
The probable last of six unsigned and undated editions of this popular collection of sermons printed by Johannes de Westfalia at his second press. The text is a compendium for parish priests, containing a selection of 13 key words, each appearing in the Gospel or Epistle readings for a Sunday or holiday. Not surprisingly, the handy collection was frequently reprinted, and 17 incunable editions are recorded, the majority from the Low Countries. Following the 13 sermons by Michael de Hungaria in all of the Louvain editions are three additional sermons (cf. BSB-Ink. M-367). The first is the anonymous English tract Disputatio de sanguine Christi, which opens with a description of a typical class in theology at Oxford or Cambridge. Reference is made to the English custom of swearing by "Christ's Blood," and three lines of Middle English verse are quoted on O7v, the first line being a translation of 1 John 1.7. This is ONE OF THE EARLIEST PRINTED BIBLICAL CITATIONS IN ENGLISH, its first appearance in the earliest Westfalia editions (dated ca. 1477-83) almost certainly predating Caxton's 1483 Golden Legend. The last two lines are repeated in a different form on P5v, and additional English words appear on P6v.
When he moved to Louvain in 1474, Johannes de Westfalia brought with him the small Venetian gothic type that he had used for the few books printed at Alost with Thierry Martens, and he continued to use this type throughout his career, making the dating of his copious and largely undated output difficult. Only extremely close study of the modifications made to the typecases of type 1 and of his heading type 2, also conserved throughout Westfalia's Louvain career, has permitted approximate dating of most of his editions (cf. Hellinga, Printing Types I, 59-61 and II, 434-438).
All of the Louvain editions are extremely rare. This copy is one of two copies in America, of 8 recorded by ISTC (this copy erroneously listed twice under N.C. Starr and N.J. Nakles). Only two other complete copies of any of the Louvain editions are held by American libraries (cf. Goff M-537a and M-538, with an additional fragment of the latter at LC).
C 3204; Campbell 1251; CIBN M-344; HPT II, 492; IDL 3215; Polain(B) 2694; Pr 9279; Goff M-540.