Thesaurus exorcismorum.

Cologne, Sumptibus haeredum Lazari Zetzneri, 1626.


8vo. pp. (xxiv) 1232 (xlii). Roman letter, with Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, woodcut initials and headpieces. Title a little dusty, paper a bit softened, upper edge trimmed, affecting running title in places, water stain to upper outer corner of 2S-2Y 8 and (lighter) last few gatherings. A good copy in contemporary calf, double blind ruled, raised bands, wanting fly. Autograph ‘J. Van Kempen’ to front pastedown, contemporary annotation (mostly illegible male names) to verso of last.

A good copy of the second edition of this important collection of six popular treatises on exorcism written by Franciscans, published separately in the 1580s-90s. First collected in 1608 and republished after the codification of exorcism in the ‘Rituale Romanum’ (1614), it became ‘the most authoritative collection of exorcisms of the Renaissance’ and ‘the undisputed reference for the ritual of Catholic exorcism’ (Maggi, ‘Satan’s Rhetoric’, 103). With their attraction for mystical practices—which even led to occasional accusations of black magic—Franciscans Observant were the monastic order keenest on exorcisms, as compared to the Dominicans, who generally occupied official, inquisitorial offices. The first work, ‘Practica exorcistarum’, was written by the Paduan Valerio Polidori. It begins with a theoretical section on the names of the devil, the exorcist’s behaviour and the nature of demons, proceeding to practical arguments on the phases of exorcisms, touching for instance on confession, the exorcist’s clothing, readings, blessings or the delivery of a house from the demon. The second and third, ‘Flagellum daemonum’ and ‘Fustis daemonum’, were the work of Girolamo Menghi (1529-1609), the most renowned exorcist of the time. ‘Flagellum’ focuses on the exorcist, providing instructions on his behaviour (patience and perseveration, formulas and gestures), the time and place for exorcisms, and whether they should be carried out privately or publicly. ‘Fustis’ devotes greater room to the nature and power of demons, including causing illness. The fourth, ‘Complementum artis exorcisticae’, is written by the Milanese demonologist Zaccaria Visconti (d.1600). Interesting are his sections on the physical signs by which one can recognise a person possessed by a demon, and a long list of herbal remedies in the form of oils, fumes, eye drops, etc., which can be given to ‘indaemoniati’ to make them expel the demons, for instance, by throwing up or evacuating. The fifth, ‘Fuga Satanae’, was a very popular manual by Pietro Antonio Stampa. Among the usual practical instructions, he added a section on the ritual burning of effigies (one of the demon, the other of the agent of the ‘maleficium’), accompanied by the reading of Revelation. The sixth, ‘Manuale exorcismorum’, by Maximilianus Eynatten, is the most practical, being almost entirely devoted to formulas, readings and adjurations for exorcisms, reported in full, and often several pages long.

Wellcome I, 6272a; BL STC Ger. C17 T301 (1608 ed.); Thorndike VIII, 543 (1608 ed.). Not in Caillet, Graesse and Bib. Esot. A. Maggi, Satan’s Rhetoric (Chicago, 2001);


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RULAND, Martin


Lexicon alchemiae sive Dictionarium alchemisticum.

Frankfurt, Cura ac sumtibus Zachariae Palhenii, 1612


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. (viii) 471 [i.e., 487] (i). Roman letter, occasional Italic or Gothic. Unusual woodcut device (triangle with alchemical symbols) to t-p, two small woodcuts of stones and gems, woodcut initials and ornaments. Paper of first gathering softened, occasional light browned (poor paper or poorly dried), t-p a bit dusty, a handful of lower or outer edges uncut. A very good copy in contemporary English polished calf, double blind ruled, raised bands, single blind ruled, joint just split at head and foot (lower repaired), spine a bit cracked, tiny worm hole at head. Modern ownership label inside front boards, occasional early underlinings.

A very good copy of the first edition of this important alchemical dictionary—‘very full, less mystical and more practical than some later [works]’ and ‘useful in explaining early terminology’ (Bolton I, 1041). Martin Ruland the Elder (1569-1611) was a German physician at the court of Rudolf II and an alchemist. Concluded c.1607, his ‘Lexicon alchemiae’ was only published posthumously, as a very detailed Latin-German dictionary of alchemical terms. Most important are the near synonymous definitions of ‘alchemia’, ‘chemia’, and, unusually differentiated, ‘chymia’; Ruland was indeed ‘one source of the linguistic error that facilitated their later [conceptual] separation’ (Newman & Prince, ‘Alchemy’, 47). The work provides a wide variety of words for chemical elements and stones, with all their subcategories, and other substances such as alcohol (of which Paracelsus gave his own interpretation as both a powder and a volatile substances). Other words identify alchemical procedures or phases, e.g., ‘mensis philosophicus’ (the philosophical month), or the time for the completion of putrefaction, coinciding with a lunar cycle. ‘Lexicon’ was known to C.G. Jung who mentioned it his ‘Psychology and Alchemy’ to discuss Ruland’s understanding of ‘meditatio’, an important part of alchemists’ work (Jung, ‘Psychology’, 274). He saw it as ‘an invisible dialogue with one’s inner voice’, which may involve the invocation of God or one’s guardian angel. A very influential alchemical work, of intriguing, though obscure, early English provenance.

Chicago, Mass, Brown (Hay), Yale, Columbia, NYMA, NYPL, SHI, Delaware, Penn, NLM, LC, Oberlin, Miami, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Washington, Florida, Oklahoma and HRC copies recorded in the US.

Ferguson II, 302-3; BL STC Ger. C17 R1211; Duveen 520; Wellcome I, 5638. Not in Durling or Graesse. W.R. Newman, L.M. Principe, ‘Alchemy vs. Chemistry’, Early Science and Medicine, 3 (1998), 32-65; C.G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy (rpt. 1968).


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Daemonomania Pistoriana: magica et cabalistica morborum curandorum ratio.

Lauingen, typis Palatinis, 1601.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. pp. (lii) 134. Roman letter, with Italic, occasional Hebrew. T-p with typographical border and ornament. Slight age browning (poor paper), lower outer corner of B 1 torn just touching catchword. A good copy in cloth boards c.1900 eps, paper label to spine, modern ex-libris of Emile Lafuma Voiron to fly.

The scarce first edition of this demonological-medical controversy on the Practical Kabbalah, between two important German theologians, one Catholic, the other Protestant. The German Johann Pistorius (1546-1608) was physician to Margrave Karl II of Baden-Durlach; in 1588, he converted from Lutheranism to Calvinism and later Catholicism. This edition features excerpt from ‘De arte cabalistica’ (Basel, 1587), on the Jewish mystic tradition and esotericism, which Pistorius wrote the year before his Catholic conversion, inspired by Reuchlin’s of 1517. In ‘De operatione’, the focus is on Practical Kabbalah, or the part concerning ‘white magic’: ways of making amulets and talismans, and the nature of angels and demons. In particular, it discusses Pistorius’s key observations on its use for treating illnesses. Each excerpt by Pistorius is followed by a ‘glossa’ devised to confute it, by the Lutheran theologian Jacob Heilbronner (1548-1618). Heilbronner begins with an introduction on the figure of the ‘magi’, often confused with astronomers or astrologers, but truly people ‘who entertain commerce with demons’. He even associates Pistorius with them: ‘a magus […] is very rapacious for money and honours, vices which everyone knows are shared by the obnoxious Pistorius’. Heilbronner considered Pistorius’s theories on the cabbalistic treatment of illnesses as black magic. The most important issue he sought to confute was the mystic power, especially the healing power, of words from the Scriptures, in the form, for instance, of charms used to treat people, even of the plague. Heilbronner’s criticism often extends to Practical Kabbalah as a whole—a ‘corruption of the Holy Scriptures, when from letters, numbers, figure, anagrams, conjunctions, spaces and similar details one draws allegorical meanings and mysteries’.

BL Ger. C17 P693; Durling C17, 9040; Graesse V, 306; Caillet IV, D2 3333: ‘très rare’; Bib. Esoterica 3673: ‘très rare’.


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CICOGNA, Strozzi.


Magiae omnifariae, vel potius, universae naturae theatrum.

Cologne, sumptibus Conradi Butgenij, 1607.


8vo. pp. (viii) 568. Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, woodcut initials and tailpieces. Varying degrees of age browning (poor paper), original edges untrimmed, small ink burn to outer blank margin of 2L1, little spotting to first and last gatherings and another handful of ll., all edges untrimmed. A good copy in quarter calf over marbled boards, spine and extremities rubbed. C17 or later Inscription c.1800 ‘Paulus du Mont’ to t-p and couple of early annotations.

A very good copy, with edges fresh from the press, of the scarce second Latin edition of this occultum—‘a very curious and uncommon work’ (Caillet I, 2373). Strozzi Cicogna (1568-1605) studied law at Padua; a late humanist, he devoted himself to poetry and philosophy, achieving lasting fame with ‘Il Palagio degl’incanti’, published in 1605. It was translated into Latin by Gaspare Ens in 1606; the 1607 Latin edition is an exact reprint of the first. It is a treatise on daemonology—a winning combination of ancient and Scholastic theories on god, the nature and origin of the world, with a Renaissance interest towards pagan, Christian, Hermetic and Cabalistic ideas, and a wealth of learned and popular anecdotes. Some of these Cicogna had heard from the archpriest of Barbarano, near his hometown Vicenza, who recounted supernatural events which had happened to him (‘Storia popolare d’Italia’, VII, 163). This ‘dense and almost unknown treatise’ contains ‘the most systematic taxonomy of the demonic presences inhabiting the creation’ and is ‘the most comprehensive and original treatise on angelic beings ever written in early modern Europe’ (Maggi, ‘Company of Demons’, 17). Book II is devoted to the nature of angels with comparative theories drawn from the classical and Hebrew tradition. Book III discusses the hierarchies and types of demons (aerial, earthly, aquatic, etc.), and Book IV studies the foundations of demonic magic and the demons’ interactions with human beings. Although the work was approved by the Inquisition in 1605—as ‘delightful for the vague and varied narrative’ and  constantly ‘safe doctrine’—it was included in the Index in 1623. Robert Burton drew heavily from Cicogna’s work for his ‘Anatomy of Melancholy’; one of Cicogna’s anecdotes inspired a poem by the English Gothic novelist Matthew Gregory Lewis.

Chicago, Vanderbilt, Columbia and GW copies recorded in the US.

Caillet I, 2373; BL STC Ger. C17 C647; VD 17 39:135414Z. Not in Thorndike. A. Maggi, In the Company of Demons (Chicago, 2006).


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Practica Sancti Officii Inquisitionis ad usum Caroli Centurioni Consultoris Genue.

Manuscript on paper, Italy, c.1645.


4to. pp. (vi) 155 (v). Brown-black ink in secretary hand, Italian and Latin, typically 18 lines per page. T-p ink ruled. Lightly smudged with slight offsetting to fly and first couple of ll., very minor marginal foxing, the odd thumb mark. A very good copy in contemporary vellum over pasteboards. In slipcase.

A very good clean ms. copy of the ‘Practica officii Inquisitionis’—a generic title, with Latin and vernacular variants, for the official manual of Inquisitors which circulated widely in ms. It includes the ‘Instructio pro formandis processibus in causis strigum, sortilegiorum et maleficiorum’, instructions for the conduct of witchcraft trials composed and sometimes circulated independently. Other such mss. are recorded, e.g., 1MANOSSXX-169 in the Biblioteca Provinciale dei Cappuccini in Genoa, the city where this copy was also made and preserved. It was written c.1645 for Carlo Centurione, counsellor of the Inquisition, possibly a member of the major Genoese aristocratic family. The terse and clearly-structured text introduces definitions of ‘heretics’ and ‘suspected heretics’, what crimes they may be accused of, how they should be brought to court, questioned and punished, with references to papal bulls and the minutes of ecclesiastical Councils. Among the categories of heretics addressed are polygamists, sorcerers, blasphemers, keepers of prohibited books, priests who encourage people in the confessional to discuss their carnal sins with unholy intentions, infidels including Jews and Muslims and those who print and circulate their books, and even possessed nuns. On the one hand, this manual appears to continue the tradition of torture and psychological violence for which the Inquisition was proverbial; in order to break impenitent heretics ‘learned, pious and prudent people would be called to reduce them to the recognition of the Catholic Truth’. On the other hand, a new willingness to avoid major judicial errors was emerging. Curses against God (literally reproduced in the treatise) were to be considered within the context in which they were said (out of anger, for instance) and the alleged demonic possession of nuns would be examined more carefully since the immediate involvement of exorcists might worsen the situation through suggestion and even frighten novices. A similar mindset informs the concluding ‘Instructio’ originally penned by Giovanni Garcia Millino c.1624 to reformulate how testimonies for the prosecution in witchcraft trials should be weighed and to what extent they should be believed. This treatise was a vademecum for Inquisitors, witness to a ms. tradition dating back to the C14 which was still alive in the mid-C17 even though a vernacular manual, Eliseo Marini’s ‘Sacro Arsenale’, had been in print for a few decades.


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LE LOYER, Pierre

Discours, et histoires des spectres, visions et apparitions des esprits, anges, démons et ames, se monstrans visibles aux hommes.

Paris, chez Nicolas Buon, demeurant au mont Sainct Hilaire, à l’enseigne Sainct Claude, 1605.


4to. [xxvi], 976, [xl]. [a⁴ e⁴ i⁴ o² A-6M⁴]. Roman letter, some Italic and Greek. Title in red and black with Buon’s woodcut device, floriated woodcut initials, grotesque head and tail-pieces. Light age yellowing, occasional very light browning and minor spotting. A good copy, crisp and clean, in slightly later French speckled calf over thick boards, spine with raised bands, double gilt ruled in compartments, richly gilt with small scrolled and pointillé tools, title gilt lettered in second compartment, upper joint restored

Second edition of this highly influential and important work on ghosts, visions, demons, witches, and transformations by the the demonologist and poet Le Loyer (1550-1634). Using a number of ancient authors as sources, both religious and secular, Le Loyer details the causes of apparitions, the natures of spirits and demons, magicians and sorcerers, and how they communicate. Zachary Jones made a translation, the only early English version, from this second edition and his work introduced the term ‘Spectre’ into the English language. This second edition slightly changes the form of the work, dividing the text into eight parts,  from four in the first. Le Loyer was a very considerable scholar, widely read in the medieval authors such as Lull and Nider and their later counterparts, Cardan, Lemnius and Sprenger. Whilst admitting that in many cases ghosts, apparitions, demons and prodigies were merely the result of a deranged imagination, hypersensitivity or natural occurrences, he insists that both good and bad spirits do appear to men in visible form. He discusses at length the question of the return of the souls of the dead, citing the opinions of Jewish cabalists and Moslems. Also considered in detail are the raising of demons, necromancy, the distinguishing of evil spirits from Angels, the souls of the dead, the use of charms and the practice of exorcism. He is contemptuous of Paraclesus and dismissive of alchemical medicine in general.“In the first chapter Le Loyer attempts to define the nature of spirits — which the author calls “spectres” — while also developing a scientific approach to this human phenomenon, which he distinguishes from the study of ghosts. In Le Loyer’s opinion, there is a real difference between “on the one hand, an apparition that is the product of the human imagination (insane or not), which he calls a ‘fantasm’ and, on the other hand, the apparition of a Spirit who, of its own accord takes shape in the human imagination as a spectre.” (Huot, p. 578).” Éliane Laberge. ‘Ghost stories by Pierre Le Loyer.’

“Before his treatise on ghosts appeared in 1586, Le Loyer was known as a playwright and poet .. he published a translation of Ovid’s ‘Ars Amatoria’ and three comedies..By the mid 1580’s Le Loyer was a writer of some repute. ..Now back in Angers the author chose to move away from poetry and devote his energies to a new project, a treatise on ghosts. The publication was evidently a costly and complex undertaking.… the result – a quarto of over a thousand pages – was an object de luxe, marked out for the gentleman’s library. .. The sheer number not to mention the range of Le Loyer’s sources are indeed impressive. So extensive is his reading in the Church Fathers and medieval theology, despite his lack of formal training, that Serclier was led to describe him as ‘un grand jusrisconsulte et theologian tout ensemble’. Over and above his Patristic sources, which he shared with a number of other writers on ghosts, Le Loyer’s inventio also included a number of hitherto unknown stories and examples…Le Loyer’s expertise as a linguist and a lawyer allowed him access to an unprecedented range of spectral narratives. His treatise is also notable for being the first work of French demonology to draw extensively upon – and subsequently influence – contemporary European cosmography.” Timothy Chesters. ‘Ghost Stories in Late Renaissance France: Walking by Night.’

A handsome copy of this monumental and most influential work.

BM STC Fr. C17th p. 305:796. Thorndike VI 531-33. Caillet 6456 Brunet III 959. Not in Duveen.


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MICHAËLIS, Sébastien

Pneumalogie ou discours des esprits en tant qu’il est de besoing pour entendre et resouldre la matiere difficile des sorciers

Paris, chez Guillaume Bichon, 1587


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. fff. [viii] 122 (i.e. 124) [iv] :8, A-Q8.] (without Q8 blank). Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut printer’s device on title page (a hunting scene), floriated woodcut initials, woodcut and typographical headpieces. Light age toning, tear restored in lower blank margin of fol. 24, very rare marginal spot or mark. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in C19th calf by “Petit Successor de Simier” (signed on fly), covers bordered with a triple gilt rule, spine with raised bands gilt ruled in compartments richly gilt, red morocco title label and black morocco date label, edges gilt ruled, inner dentelles richly gilt, all edges gilt over marbled edges, joints a little rubbed.

Extremely rare first edition of the major work on sorcery by the redoubtable Dominican witch-hunter and inquisitor Sebastien Michaelis. Michaelis was vice-inquisitor in Avignon during the 1580s and was involved in a number of witch trials. In 1587 he published this work on demons. By 1610 he was prior of the Dominican community at Saint-Maxim near Aix-en-Provence where he was later involved in one of the most notorious witch trials, and case of demonic possession, in the History of France, that of the priest Louis Gaufridi, who was convicted of sorcery, tortured and burnt, on the evidence of a nun ‘possessed by the devil.’  The many publications and the notoriety surrounding the Gaufridi case lead to the translation of this work, the Pneumalogie, into English in 1613, where it was of great influence. The first part of the book is divided into eight chapters discussing various aspects of witchcraft, sorcery, spirits, and possession, such as a chapter discussing if spirits have bodies, another on how evil spirits can possess people. The work then presents the case of a witch trail (in Latin) in which Michaelis was involved. He then provides eleven ‘Scholies’ or sentences given against witches, which also includes much discussion on the nature of the devil. “The account of the Avignon witches featured the whole panoply of Continental diabolism, including devil-worship, the Sabbath, cannibalism of infants, copulation with incubi and succubi and the osculum obscenium in which witches pledged their allegiance to the devil by kissing a black goat on the anus. This Catholic work was sufficiently sensational to find a ready market in England..”. Francis Young ‘English Catholics and the Supernatural, 1553–1829.’

Executions for witchcraft in France became rarer after 1610 as the Parlements of Paris and several provinces were de facto decriminalising witchcraft. However Michaelis was Grand Inquisitor in the papal territory of Avignon and so fell out of French jurisdiction. “Michaelis was something of an expert on witchcraft, since he had served as vice-inquisitor during a major out-break of witchhunting in the region of Avignon. In this series of trials in 1581 and 1582, at least fourteen witches were convicted and burnt. Jonathan L. Pearl. ‘The Crime of Crimes: Demonology and Politics in France, 1560-1620’. Michaelis’ work on witches is particularly interesting for its focus on women and sexuality; this and the fact that the work was written in the ‘vulgar’ vernacular caused some disquiet among the clergy in France. In this work he gives an example of a sentence passed at Avignon in 1582 as comprising, in a little space, the most execrable and abominable of the crimes of witches and Sorcerers, which includes their use of broomsticks, the murder and dismemberment of new born babies, copulating with devils, “then adding sin to sin you the men did copulate with Succubi and you the women did fornicate with Incubi.” ..“Sebastien Michaelis, the leading French Dominican, wrote in his ‘Pneumalogie, ou discours des esprits’ of ‘la simplicite naturelle qui est en ce sexe’ and of the Devil’s awareness ‘que c’est un organe propre a attirer l’homme a sa volonté.’ But he also said that women were addicted to extremes of behaviour, good as well as bad, and then devoted the rest of his discussion to the examples of the latter not the former.” Brian P. Levack. ‘Gender and Witchcraft’.

Very rare first edition of this most influential work on witches.

Adams M 1407. USTC 19441. Caillet, 7506.


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SAINT-ANDRÉ, François de

Lettres de M. de Saint-André, .. au sujet de la magie, des maléfices et des sorciers,

Paris, chez Robert-Marc Despilly, libraire, place de Sorbonne, à Sainte Ursule. 1725


FIRST EDITION. 12mo. [viii] 446 [ii]. [ã4, A-S12, T8]. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut initials, head and tail pieces, typographical ornaments, occasional underlinings. Light age yellowing, occasional minor spotting, a few tears in blank margins with early repairs. A very good copy, with good margins, in C19th three quarter olive calf over marbled boards, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, blue and red morocco labels gilt, a.e.r. joints restored.

First edition of this important enlightenment text on witch-craft and demons by the French physician Francois de Saint-André, published posthumously. Saint-André, physician to Louis XV, denounces popular belief in witchcraft and wizards, and demonstrates, with many examples, that all that is attributed to wizards and demons is most improbable and, most often, derived from the imagination of weak-minded people. He also inveighs against superstitious practices on the grounds that they are contrary to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. “Clearly, there was still a lively interest in witchcraft during the 18th century, but through polemics and controversies the discussion was integrated into philosophical, legal, and religious debates, within which more or less modified versions of traditional Demonological theories jostled with “enlightened” critiques of those very theories. In France, for example, a quarrel developed over the physician Nathaniael de Saint André’s ‘lettres .. au sujet de la magie, des maléfices et des sorciers (1725. Letters about magic, evil spells, and sorcerers.) In this work he calls into question the traditional justification of a belief in witches by citing both passages in the Bible and canon law, and he explains all the phenomena in question in terms of natural effects or the power of illusion. The demonologists and even, to a certain extent, the physician John Wier, in his De Praestigiis Daemonum (1563 On the imposture of Devils), had interpreted such phenomena as effects of the devils power of the imagination, melancholia, and matter. However, Saint-Andre interprets them in purely human terms, drawn from psychology and physiology. The light of science, and particularly of medicine, is therefore to ‘disabuse’ human beings of false belief in witchcraft” Michel Delon. ‘Encyclopaedia of the Enlightenment.’

A very good copy of the first edition of one of the first treatises to move away from the theories of witch-craft developed in the the late C15 and C16th centuries.

Quérard IX, 320; Caillet, 9750; Yve-Plessis, 864.


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Secrets merveilleux de la magie naturelle & cabalistique.

Lyon, chez les héritiers de Beringos fratres à l’enseigne d’Agrippa, 1743


12 mo. pp. [xii], 252. *⁶, A-K¹², L⁶. 10 full page engraved esoteric plates. Roman letter some Italic. Title page in red and black, small woodcut ornament on title, woodcut headpieces, woodcut tables in text. Light age yellowing, quires I-K browned, the odd spot or mark. A very good copy in contemporary mottled calf, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, double gilt ruled in compartments, large tulip fleurons gilt at centres, edges gilt ruled, marbled endpapers, all edges red

A very good copy of this most popular and successful work on natural magic. The Little Albert is a so-called “magic” book, or Grimoire, perhaps inspired by the writings of St. Albert the Great. It was printed in France for the first time as early as 1668, and then reprinted on a continuous basis. Brought to the smallest villages in the saddlebags of ‘colporteurs’, it was a phenomenal publication success, despite, or perhaps because of, its sulphurous reputation. It is associated with a twin book, the Grand Albert, and often with an almanac which contained a useful calendar. It is a composite work, even heterogeneous, a bric-a-brac gathering of texts of unequal value written by (or attributed to) different authors, most anonymous. The Petit Albert, however, is neither a summary nor an abridged version of the Great Albert; it is a distinct text. It was enormously popular in France throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. A curious mixture of esoteric science and totally impractical superstition, it was for some time tolerated by the Church, with whose teachings it cohabited uneasily, but it was prized by ordinary people. The book is attributed, though probably spuriously, to Albert Le Grand, a 13th century Dominican monk, whose real name was Albrecht De Groot. He was a superb scholar, a philosopher and divine, mentor to Thomas Aquinas, whose apparent interests in the esoteric earned him a reputation as a mighty sorcerer amongst his contemporaries. It was not until the 19th century that the Petit Albert began to be frowned upon by the Catholic Church and had to be kept hidden, sometimes even underneath church altars in an effort to ‘bless’ them. Albert Le Grand is a saint, and it is likely that the association with him was deliberate, as a way of keeping the books tolerated if not approved by the Church. It owes a good deal of its more esoteric nature—discussions of talismans, mandrakes, and ‘elementals’ for instance—to pseudo-Paracelsus. There are recipes taken from the Italian philosopher Girolamo Cardano’s De Subtilitate of 1552, and Giacomo della Porta’s Magia naturalis of 1598, amongst others.

The Petit Albert offers tremendous insight into the minds of rural folk magic practitioners and provides an example of the then popular practice of publishing of books of secrets. It was a book that acted as a medium, in creating an occult atmosphere; the image of the magician or witch is almost always attended by the presence of the book of magic. It lends the practitioner the token of occult knowledge and power. Despite any claims made for the efficacy of such tomes, they nonetheless instilled a sense of wonder and mystery in those who owned them. As such a popular work, copies were read and used to disintegration and it is not common to find then in such good condition as this copy.

Ferguson 1, p. 17, Brunet I 139.


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EYNATTEN, Maximilian

Manuale exorcismorum: continens instructiones, & exorcismos ad eiiciendos è corporibus obsessis spiritus malignos.

Antwerp, ex officina Plantiniana, apud Balthasarem Moretum, & viduam Ioannis Moreti, & Io. Meursium, 1626


8vo. pp(xvi), 314, (vi). *⁸ A-V⁸. [last two ll. blank] Roman and Italic letter. Title in red and black with Moretus’ small woodcut ‘Labore et Constantia’ compass device, a larger version on verso of last, historiated and floriated woodcut initials. Light age yellowing, some minor mostly marginal spotting, the odd thumb mark and marginal mark or spot. A good clean copy, in contemporary vellum over the reuse of dark calf, as boards, from and early netherlandish binding circa 1510-40, probably from the top edge of a single cover divided in two, these were triple blind ruled with alternate rose and lozenge blind stamps around a central, diaper blind ruled, panel, filled with blind lozenge tools, yapp edges, stubs from an early manuscript. Two C17th ms ex libris on fly, upper mostly torn away.

Rare second edition of this important manual of exorcisms, giving a complete insight into the procedure of exorcism, containing instructions as to how exorcisms should be carried out with a great number of ritual formulae. These include many ‘magic’ recipes, to fight fevers and the plague, love potions, spells cast on food, evil spells placed on marriages, incubus and Succubus, evil spirits that infest houses and other places, etc. The book was finely printed by Balthasar Moretus in Antwerp in his ‘Officina Plantiniana’. Considered a canonical treatise of reference in matters of exorcism, it is the only production of Maximilian d’Eynatten (1574-1631), canon lawyer, scholar and Antwerp’s Keeper of the Seals.

The work is divided into three sections; the first contains general instructions and preparations for exorcisms such as how to determine if a person is suffering from demonic possession and not merely from natural diseases, learning about various symbols and their effects, the proper time and place for an exorcism, and various precautions to take against demons. The second part details the methods and practices used in an exorcism, including many different prayers, invocations, and solemn oaths, with selected prayers and exorcism methods included from a variety of respected authors. Finally, the third part contains methods and practices to expel various kinds of witchcraft or enchantments from both bodies and other objects, including chapters on exorcising dairy products, cereals and other foods (with specific chapters on milk and butter); exorcising a spirit from a home; exorcising witchcraft from your own body and exorcising witchcraft from the bodies of others; remedies against pests, fevers and other natural diseases; and remedies against love potions, amongst others. This is very much like a modern-day field guide, written in a no-nonsense referential manner so that it could be easily used during field work. Cf Michael Foight, ‘Falvey Memorial Library.’

“Despite these official and semi-official efforts to restrict the practise of Catholic exorcisms to the ordained clergy, laymen and unlicensed priests continued to practise exorcisms. In the Netherlands most exorcisms in the seventeenth century continued to be performed by laymen or priests without ecclesiastical permission. These unauthorised exorcisms explain why some Catholic dioceses decided to elaborate and even expand upon the Vatican’s policy in their jurisdictions.” Brian Levack. ‘The Devil Within: Possession and Exorcism in the Christian West’

The reuse of calf from an earlier binding, as boards, is most unusual, particularly from what must have been a handsome Flemish binding from the first half of the C16th. A very interesting example of the way binders ‘recycled’ materials from earlier works.

BM STC Neth. C17th Caillet, 3746 (first ed. only) ‘Manuel d’exorcismes rare’. Coumont, Demonology & Witchcraft, E37.2. Graesse, ‘Bibl. Magica et Pneumatica’, p.29. Not in Guaita.


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