Gustavus Selenus Cryptomenytices et Cryptographiæ Libri IX...
[Luneburg], [Johann and Heinrich Stern], 1624. Folio, , 493, pp., folding letterpress table, illustration
by Cryptography. Augustus II, Gustavus Selenus Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg.
[Luneburg], [Johann and Heinrich Stern], 1624. Folio, , 493, pp., folding letterpress table, illustration: engraved illustrated border on title-page, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces, woodcut diagrams, 3 engraved illustrations, woodcut printer's device on final verso half-title, title within fine engraved historiated border, folding letter-press table, 3 engraved illustrations, woodcut diagrams, musical notation, initials, head- and tail-pieces and printer's device at end, holes in upper margin of half-title repaired, N3 upper corner repaired with loss of page number, stain to lower margin of 2R3 to end, just within text / image on 2S6, short tear within stain to 2S4-6, occasional spotting, lightly browned. Contemporary calf, rebacked, bookplate of Nicholas Wall Q.C. First edition of this rare text on codes and secret writing. Printed the year after the First Folio the engraved title is of particular interest. It purports to attribute the authorship of Shakespeare's plays to Sir Francis Bacon. One panel supposedly depicts Bacon handing a text to Shakespeare (a man holding a spear), while another supposedly depicts Augustus holding the Cap of Maintenance over the head of Bacon, who is writing on a folio-sized piece of paper. “OUVRAGE FORT RARE, DE LA PLUS GRANDE IMPORTANCE (Bibliotheca Esoterica). The Cryptomenytices extends Johannes Trithemius' Steganographia and is considered indispensible in the study of encrypted correspondence from the Renaissance to the 19th century. Not only does it cover many aspects of codes and cryptography, but its engraved title page, according to Sir Edwin Dunning-Lawrence, provided the first clue of Bacon's authorship of Shakespeare's plays in the form of pictorial puns, a theory expanded in his pamphlet Bacon is Shakespeare (London: 1914). Bibliotheca Esoterica 163; Brunet V, 270; Caillet 10114. (Inventory #: 107249)
Bibles, theology and religion, Bindings, Early & Fine Printing, Illustrated Books, William Blake & His Circle, Illuminated Manuscripts, Private Press Books, T.F. Dibdin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Children's Books 1600-1950
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