BARTOLI, Daniello.

Europeae historiae Societatis Jesu pars prior, Anglia

Lyon, Adam Demen, 1671


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to, (viii) 614 (xii). Roman letter, engraved printer’s device to t-p, woodcut floriated initials, typographical ornaments, charming tailpieces and headpieces. T-p a bit dusty, small very slight waterstain to upper inner corner of initial gatherings, intermittent light foxing, heavier to some ll. A very good copy in contemporary goatskin, covers blind ruled to a panel design, first and second borders with two charming blind rolls of flowers, central panel blind ruled in an all-over diaper pattern of small gilt fleurs-de-lis and ornamental tools. Spine blind ruled in compartments bordered with a fine foliage decoration and fleurons at centres, a.e.g.

Rare first edition of the Latin translation of Bartoli’s classic on the history of the Jesuit missions in England, by the French Jesuit Louis Janin (1590-1672). The first Italian edition was published in 1667. The volume is in a handsome French contemporary semé binding, featuring small gilt fleurs-de-lis in a lattice pattern within an elegant border of fine blind stamped rolls. This style was invented by Parisian bookbinders in the 16 th century, and highly appreciated ever since as a decoration for luxury bindings destined for presentation or prize copies (for similar bindings see: British Library database of bookbindings C66g16 and C46e20)

The Italian Daniello Bartoli (1608-1685) is one of the greatest Jesuit writers and historians of the Renaissance. Son of a chemist who worked for duke Alfonso II d’Este, Bartoli was born in Ferrara and entered the Society of Jesus at the age of fifteen. Although he desired to join the missionaries and go to India, his superiors kept him in Italy, where he began an apostolic career as a preacher and his homilies gained great fame. An extremely talented and prolific writer, internationally esteemed for the elegance of his style, Bartoli wrote on history, the Italian language, and physical phenomena such as hearing, sound, and the solidification of ice. In recognition of his outstanding reputation as a writer, he was appointed Rector of the Collegio Romano from 1671-1674. Bartoli’s chief work is ‘Istoria della Compagnia di Gesù’ (History of the Society of Jesus), the longest Italian classic. This monumental work, counting over ten thousand pages, is a multi-volume history of the first century of the Jesuit missions (1540-1640) published between 1650 and 1673. The first volume contains a biography of the founder Ignatius Loyola, and the following are concerned with different geographic areas: Asia, Japan, China, England, Italy.

The present volume contains Bartoli’s fascinating and dramatic history of the Society of the Jesuits in England, covering a period that goes from the reign of Henry III to approximately James II. Bartoli based this work on manuscripts of the English Jesuit missionary Robert Persons (1546-1610) and documents collected by the priest Christopher Grene (1629-1697). England is described as “‘fecund mother of martyrs’ — which Bartoli measured in thousands (…) Bartoli painted the picture of England as having borne witness to a continuous tradition of holiness of at least eight hundred years, in which there was scarcely a hamlet which did not boast some holy bones or relics of the innumerable bishops of ‘most holy life and apostolic zeal’ and priests, nuns, monks, and anchorites ‘of consummate perfection’, whose zeal had made England a favoured daughter of the true faith. Having painted this picture of the island’s Roman Catholic heritage, Bartoli’s depicts the ‘furious passions’ of Henry VIII, his love for the ‘shameless’ Anne Boleyn, and the king’s irrational hatred of the Roman pontiff as all the more shocking and unnatural. (…) The England of Edward was described as ‘a universal market of all faiths’ (and none), which Mary purged by expelling in a few days up to 30,000 people of various sects. (…) Under Elizabeth (whom Bartoli characterised from the outset as ‘having no faith in her heart’), this unhappy and unnatural state of affairs developed (…) Bartoli wrote: ‘The new religion was simply a mixture of Calvinist and Lutheran [elements]” (Ditchfield). A great part of the work is concerned with the reign of Elizabeth I, focusing on the various attempts by English Catholics to depose her and sketching the lives of English Jesuits and martyrs including Thomas Pounde, Edmund Campion, Robert Persons, Henry Garnet and many others.

Not in USTC, Brunet, Graesse, Goldsmith. Worldcat records only University of Texas at Austin copy in US. S. Ditchfield, ‘Daniello Bartoli SJ (1608-1685) and the Mission of Writing History’, Proceedings of the British Academy 225 (2019).
Stock Number: L3889 Category: