OXFORD BINDING AND PROVENANCE

Grammatica.. Accessit tractatus de Orthographia recens.

Wittenberg, n.pb., 1569.

£2,250

8vo. pp. [xxiv] 517 [iii] [last blank]. Italic letter, some Roman and Greek. Woodcut printer’s device on title, historiated woodcut initials, “Nec primus nec ultimus. Sum ex libris Mich: Oldisworthi. Magdalensis. ii 8” in  a slightly later hand on f.e.p. Light age yellowing. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in contemporary English dark calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, large oval with strap-work and scroll work blindstamped to centres, spine with raised bands blind ruled in compartments, blind hatched at head and tail, small repairs to head and tail, a.e.r.

Extremely rare edition of this popular and most influential Latin grammar initially written by Melanchthon and enlarged by his student Camerarius, in a contemporary English, probably Oxford binding. The work belonged to the English parliamentarian Michael Oldisworth whilst he was at Magdalen College, where he graduated in 1614. It was published at Wittenberg throughout the C16th, however this 1569 edition seems particularly rare. It is not recorded in USTC and OCLC records three copies only.

“Melanchthon implemented the curriculum through his numerous text-books. The Greek grammar which he published at the age of twenty-one, for example, was used in the schools of Germany for one hundred years. His Latin grammar went through more than fifty editions and was used in all the schools of Saxony until the beginning of the 18th century. Melanchthon wrote other text for theology, rhetoric, logic, ethics, history, physics, and psychology. .. Originally Melanchthon wrote his Latin grammar for a boy named a Erasmus Ebner of Nuremberg, and it was published in 1525, against Melanchthon’s will. .Two of Phillip’s noted disciples – Joachim Camerarius and Michael Neander – revised this basic text. Neander shortened it to 130 pages, and Camerarius enlarged it to 507. Melanchthon had said that he did not want to discourage students with too much grammar, and on the other hand he wanted to be thorough. When Camerarius asked for permission to have the bookseller Papst in Leipzig bring out a larger edition, Melanchthon approved in advance whatever changes Camerarius might make. When Schenk, a latin teacher at Leipzig, saw this enlarged edition, he exclaimed that the little book had at last been brought to perfection.” Clyde Leonard Manschreck ‘Melanchthon, the Quiet Reformer.’

“Oldisworth (1591-1664) was educated at Oxford, becoming a fellow of Magdalen College and receiving a master’s degree in 1614. He is not known to have enrolled at an inn of court, but by 1617, when he married Susan Poyntz, the daughter of a prominent Gray’s Inn lawyer, he was living in St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, presumably at his father’s house in St. Martin’s Lane. As a younger son Oldisworth could not expect a substantial patrimony, but his wife was joint heiress to a moderate landed estate in Essex, and this property must have provided a welcome boost to his income. Oldisworth’s father developed serious financial problems in the late 1610s, and emigrated in 1620 to Virginia, where he died soon afterwards leaving debts of more than £6,000. Oldisworth entered the service of the lord chamberlain, the 3rd earl of Pembroke, by December 1621, when he was entrusted by the latter with the task of organizing a Christmas masque at Court. The two men had possibly become acquainted through the Mineral and Battery Company, of which Pembroke was a governor, though Oldisworth’s father had enjoyed connections with the earl’s circle for several decades. By 1624 Oldisworth was the earl’s secretary, and during the remainder of this decade he became the principal intermediary between his master and supplicants for household offices and miscellaneous favours. Oldisworth’s election for Old Sarum to four successive parliaments in the 1620s was arranged by Pembroke, who controlled the borough jointly with William Cecil*, 2nd earl of Salisbury.” Henry Lancaster. ‘The History of Parliament.’

BM STC Ger. C16th. Adams. M1153.

L2631

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