The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis
Published by Anson D.F. Randolph & Co., New York in 1889
Limited Edition – 478 of 599
Signed Full Leather Custom Binding by Bayntun, Bath
Full Title: Musica Ecclesiastica: The Imitation of Christ: Now for the First Time Set Forth in Rhythmic Sentences According to the Original Intention of the Author
Binding Details: Signed Bayntun binding featuring full leather polished calf boards with elaborate gilt decorations and titling to the spine with five raised spine hubs, doubled ruled boards with floral stops, edge and inner dentelles, marbled endpapers, and gold gilted page ends. The Bayntun Binders stamp appears on the top of the first free endpaper. The book is housed in a functional matching slipcase.
The book measures 8.25” x 5.875” with 432 pages and 299 pages as well as prefaces by the author and translator.
Book Details: This is a limited large paper first edition of Musica Ecclesiastica: The Imitation of Christ published by Anson D.F. Randolph & Co., New York in 1889 with a limitation of 750 copies this being number 478 and is signed by the publisher on the limitation page.
The Imitation of Christ was written by Catholic monk Thomas Kempis (circa 1380-1471), as four separate books completed between 1420 and 1427 at Mount Saint Agnes monastery in the town of Windesheim located in what is now the Netherlands. Although he wrote these works for the instruction of novices of his Augustinian monastic order, followers of Geert Groote's Brethren of the Common Life, the writings quickly became popular among all the literate faithful. There is probably no other book apart from the Bible which has been printed in so many editions and translations. This particular translation is a late nineteenth century version which uses 'rhythmic sentences' in an attempt to reproduce the author's original medieval Latin drawing from Carl Hirsche's 1874 edit of the Latin autograph manuscript of 1441. Dr. Hirsche discovered that Kempis used a fairly unique system of punctuation which was rhetorical rather than grammatical, serving to point out the periods of rhythm and the cadences and rhymes - i.e., intended to show pauses of greater or shorter duration to be observed in reading and is why several early manuscript editions of the Imitation of Christ bear the same title used in this edition, 'Musica Ecclesiastica.' The preface to this edition was written by Henry Parry Liddon (1829-1890), a renowned English theologian.
Condition Report: The book is in FINE condition. The binding is tight with secure hinges. The leather remains whole and supple. Internally complete and clean with no foxing. The functional slipcase is in Near FINE condition with some minimal wear to the edges. Overall, this is a beautiful signed Bayntun binding that houses one of the most popular books ever written.
Photographs of the binding, limitation page, endpapers, and a photograph of the book in the slipcase appear in the photo section of this listing.