Ratio atque Institutio Studiorum per Sex Patres ad id jussu R.P. Praepositi Generalis deputatos conscripta.
Woodcut Jesuit emblem on title within a typographical frame. Text printed throughout in italic. Ruled in red. 2 p.l., 330,  pp. 8vo, bound in a superb inlaid mosaic "à répétition" morocco binding with a navy blue base & a large gilt decor of red, citron, & pale brown morocco onlays of stars & quatrefoils, spine similarly decorated, pink silk endpapers, attributable to Nicolas-Denis Derôme (full description below), a.e.g. Rome: "in Collegio Societatis Jesu," 1586. The extremely rare first publication by the Jesuits written to establish a plan of studies meant for layman as well as priests, which included for the first time the humanities -- literature, history, drama, etc. -- as well as the traditional clerical fields of philosophy and theology. This dramatic change made clear that the literary and humanistic program of the Renaissance was compatible with the Scholastic program of the Middle Ages. The Ratio Studiorum, an exposition of principles, standardized on a global basis the highly influential system of Jesuit education which continued for centuries. Their commitment to education had great ramifications for both the Jesuit Order as well as the entire Catholic Church. The present copy, printed only in 100 or 120 copies, is bound in a magnificent mosaic binding attributable to Nicolas-Denis Derôme and comes from the library of Paul Girardot de Préfond, with his characteristic morocco bookplate. Our copy also contains annotations by the German Jesuit priest Jakob Rem (1546-1618), with the ownership inscription on title (quite faded because the title was lightly washed at the time of binding) "Colleg. Ing. Soc. Jesu. Ad usum P. I. Rhami" ("Ingolstadt Secondary School. For the use of P. J. Rem."). All copies of this edition were ordered to be burned in 1599, hence its great rarity. "During the generalate of Claudio Acquaviva (1581-1614), the educational methods of the Society were finally formulated. In 1584 six experienced schoolmen [the Spanish Juan Azor, the Portuguese Gaspar Gonçalves, the Scottish James Tyrie, the Dutch Peter Buys, Antoyne Goyson, born in the Spanish Netherlands, and the Italian Stefano Tucci], selected from different nationalities and provinces, were called to Rome, where for a year they studied pedagogical works, examined regulations of colleges and universities, and weighed the observations and suggestions made by prominent Jesuit educators."-Catholic Encyclopedia. In 1586, they issued the present work, a trial document, which was printed for private review in a very limited number and sent out to all twenty-one Jesuit provinces. After accumulating responses from the five most eminent Jesuits from each province, a revised Ratio Studiorum was issued in 1591, which again received reviews from the Jesuits educators from around the world. Finally, in 1599, the final and definitive Ratio Studiorum was issued. This is extremely rare book. Only a limited number of copies were originally printed -- between 100 and 120 -- for the Order's internal use. When the definitive version of the Ratio Studiorum was printed in 1599, a letter dated March 29, 1599 written by Superior General Claudio Acquaviva ordered that all previous editions be gathered and burned. This rarity was so well-known in the 18th century that Guillaume François De Bure at first thought that there was only one copy, as he states in his Avertissement in the sale catalogue of Girardot de Préfond's first collection (1757): "the obliteration was so scrupulous that only a single copy exists which we have carefully preserved at the library of the Dominicans of Toulouse" (p. xiv of the Avertissement). In his famous Bibliographie instructive, he dedicates a very long comment to this banned book (1764, item 1008, pp. 65-71). De Bure ended up locating seven more copies. Bound-in at the end is a one-page handwritten questionnaire, which accompanied copies of the Ratio Studiorum when sent out to Jesuit provinces. The Ratio Studiorum was very much a work in progress, making the presence of annotations natural in this copy. The German Jesuit Jakob Rem was Prefect of studies at the Dillingen and Munich schools before being appointed under-regent to the school in Ingolstadt where he lived from 1586 till his death. He was one of the great figures of the Order of the Jesuits in the early 17th century and knew General Claudio Acquaviva very well. He was, no doubt, one of the original recipients of a copy in 1586. Rem and the General had been friends since they were novitiates in Rome. BINDING: Paul Girardot de Préfond, one of the great bibliophiles of the 18th century, came from a family of timber merchants. He very much appreciated fine bindings and, following the sale of his first collection in 1757, was able to afford a second, even better collection, for which he often resorted to the best binders of the day such as Padeloup or Derôme. However, coming under pressure from his creditors in 1769, he was forced to sell his entire second collection to Count Justin Mac Carthy-Reagh. This copy was not present in the sale catalogue of the first library of de Préfond. It might be the copy described in the sale catalogue of Mac Carthy-Reagh (1815) which describes a copy (lot 1208): "mar. citron à compartimens [=mosaic], tabis, l.r. [lavé, réglé]." While the base leather of our copy is navy blue, citron morocco forms the predominant color of the onlays. It is therefore difficult to establish to which collection assembled by Girardot de Préfond this copy of Ratio Studiorum belongs. "Mosaic bindings, with their variety of colors and extravagance of design, seem to have been reserved for special religious books of octavo or smaller form, for rare and controversial works, and for volumes connected with special occasions. Few are signed."-Barber, Waddesdon Printed Books and Bookbindings, p. 203. The all-over mosaic "à répétition" decor, initially created by Antoine-Michel Padeloup in the 1720s, was very fashionable through the 1760s. Attributing the binding to Derôme can be deduced from the presence of a fine roulette frame on the insides (contreplat). Jacques-Antoine Derôme (who died in 1760) used the roulette, followed by his son, Nicolas-Denis (master in 1761) for nearly fifty years. Moreover, the characteristic of the Derômes' style is found here: the decor of the binding was done in fillet, freehand, and with the use of very few tools. Two tools from this workshop are visible here: a small palmette (G. Barber, List 7, tool 69) and a dashed (en pointillés) rouelle. They can also be seen on the binding with a decor very similar to a Giordano Bruno preserved at Aix-en-Provence (see L.-M. Michon, pl. XXXV), which also has the same frame roulette as the Ratio Studiorum. Finally, the frame roulette and the small palmette are found on a 1709 Nouveau Testament preserved at Waddesdon Manor (W.Cat. 569, ill. on p. 128 and 289) and bound, according to Giles Barber, between 1760 and 1765, "possibly by N.D. Derôme." In fine and fresh condition. Joints very slightly rubbed and with one short crack at foot of upper joint. Preserved in a box. ❧ For an account of 18th-century mosaic bindings, see Giles Barber's wonderful Waddesdon Printed Books and Bookbindings, pp. 203-308. John W. O'Malley, S.J. "Ratio Studiorum: Jesuit Education, 1548-1773," Boston College, online. De Backer-Sommervogel, I, col. 487. . (Inventory #: HillBibl-5182)
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