1522 · [Parisiis]
The first edition of two homilies widely ascribed to one of the most venerated saints in Europe. St. Lawrence of Novara (225–58 A.D.) was a disciple of Pope Sixtus II, who appointed him archdeacon of Rome. Strongly committed to the poor, he was punished for distributing among them wealth belonging to the Church; his martyrdom, ordered by Emperor Valerian, was => slow death by roasting on a gridiron. His works and life, which had been in print since the late 15th century, were inspirational for the pastoral care and charity they advocated, with this edition presenting his homilies on penitence and alms and celebrating the pure principles, explained in clear, refined Latin, of the early Christian Church much admired by 16th-century Catholic and Protestant humanists alike.
A cataloguer at the University of Illinois dissents from the opinion of Bibliotheque National and other national libraries as to authorship and writes, "The two homilies De poenitentia and De eleemosuma, here ascribed to Laurentius, Bishop of Novara, are medieval compositions by an unknown author usually designated as Laurentius Mellifluus, who cannot be identified with the Bishop of Novara nor with Laurentius, Bishop of Milan."
=> An elegant edition in Roman type, with historiated woodcut initials, including one of a bear chasing a boy and another of a very "busty" seraph.
Provenance: Most recently in the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel (AHA) at rear.
Evidence of readership: occasional early underlinings.
WorldCat locates only one U.S. library (University of Illinois) reporting ownership.
Pettegree & Walsby, French Books, 77263; Moreau, IV, 461. 20th-century grey paper boards; edges sprinkled red. Text clean, save for a few scattered spots on title-page and verso of last leaf; wanting final blank. Lower outer corner of one leaf torn away, just touching one letter, small paper flaw to outer blank margin of one leaf. => A handsome Vascosan production. (Inventory #: 40843)