ROSICRUCIANISM -- PHILALETHES, Eugenius (pseud.). The fame and confession of the Fraternity of R.C. commonly, of the Rosie Cross. London: for J.M. by Giles Calvert, 1652.
8 (137 x 82mm). Collation: A8(-2) a-c8 d4 B-E8. (One corner torn with loss of a few letters, some headlines or catchwords shaved.) Modern maroon calf by Lamb and Buck.
FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH of the first and second Rosicrucian manifestos. The Fama had first appeared in print in 1614, but had circulated in manuscript for several years previously, so that, curiously, the publication of Adam Haselmeyer's encouraging Reply pre-dated it by two years. Similarly, an English translation of the manifestos circulated in Britain before Thomas Vaughan published it in 1652. The translation -- once thought to be the work of Vaughan -- may derive from an earlier translation into Scots dialect (and it may in turn derive from an unstudied earlier manuscript in the British Library, cf. A. Mclean, 'The Impact of the Rosicrucian Manifestos in Britain', Das Erbe des Christian Rosenkreuz, Amsterdam: 1988, p.170-179). Yates considered the publication of the Fame and Confession "an epoch-making event" (Rosicrucian Enlightenment, p.185). The combination of Hermetic philosophy, magic, alchemy, mysticism and allegory embodied in the work found fertile ground in England, particularly in meetings held first at London and then at Oxford, among whose members were Robert Boyle and Christopher Wren, which led to the foundation of the Royal Society. Wing F-340A.