London and New York: Sheed and Ward, 1962. First edition. Octavo, original orange cloth, spine lettered in silver, original dust jacket. Several short closed tears to unclipped dust jacket. A near-fine copy. Item #1313
"THERE IS NO TRUTH IN THE RUMOUR THAT A BROTHER CHOLERIC MEMORIAL FUND HAS BEEN STARTED"
First edition of this "posthumous" collection of cartoons by "Brother Choleric"—one of the last of the beloved series under the nom-de-plume of the English Benedictine, Dom Hubert van Zeller.
A monk of Downside, Dom Hubert van Zeller was also a sculptor, "with a clean and distinctive style that breathes the air of Ditchling. He was a popular spiritual writer whose works are still in print. Yet for some of us who were not his immediate brethren at Downside, he is most memorable for his books of caricatures published under the pseudonym Br. Choleric" (Hugh Somerville-Knapman, O.S.B.). Beginning with Cracks in the Cloister, van Zeller's send-ups of the human foibles of Monks and Nuns "span a period of great turmoil in both Church and cloister, and the tenor and tone of these books mirror the march of progress both of the changes afoot and in the author’s reactions to them." Over these years, "'Br Choleric' moves from affectionate and amused tolerance to thunderous disapproval. As the changes in the Church increasingly intruded into the life of the cloister so too his gaze moves from the cloister to include the wider Church in the world" (Hugh Somerville-Knapman, O.S.B.). Dom Hubert lived until 1984 but the brief Preface mentions "after that centenarian's edifying end" there was discovered "among the stacked-up paintings and etchings of piety and devotion a portfolio, either fogotten or laid aside to await a renewed inspiration, filled to the tapes with works of a more serious character. These we are happy to print here." The back panel of the dust jacket lists previous titles "Also By Brother Choleric." Printed in Great Britain by Page Brothers for The Trustees of Downside Abbey. Br Choleric - RIP. Fr. Hugh Somerville-Knapman (hughosb.wordpress.com).