Mount Vernon: The Peter Pauper Press. Small quarto (8 inches tall), original three-quarter red morocco with patterned paper boards, gilt spine, top edge gilt, brown endpapers, original paper slipcase. Only mild wear to original slipcase. A nearly-fine copy. Item #1319
"SERMONS TO THE PEOPLE THAT FILLED THE MARKET-PLACES AND THE GREAT FRANCISCAN CHURCHES OF ITALY"
Handsome limited edition of the Fioretti di San Francesco—translated by Thomas Okey and decorated throughout by Valenti Angelo. One of 1850 copies printed by the Peter Pauper Press, this copy is complete with the scarce original floral paper slipcase.
Composed during the fourteenth century by several different authors, "the chief interest of The Little Flowers of Saint Francis for modern readers lies in the inspired selection of anecdotes which show the Saint in his unique moral beauty of character. He is tender without sentimentality, gentle to all—even to his enemies—and strong beneath his gentleness" (Frank Magill). This edition was illustrated by the Italian-born Valenti Angelo (a prolific and well-known children’s author, printmaker, and illustrator) with a title-page vignette and additional woodcuts in the text. Derived from the text prepared by Antonio Cesari (supplemented by passages from Passerini), this edition was translated by Thomas Okey, the first Serena Professor of Italian at the University of Cambridge. In his valuable Translator's Essay of Introduction, Okey affirms the authentic nature of the Fioretti: "Many of the stories are, doubtless, but memories of memories, but...we have here the realistic form in which the friars recited some of these stories in their sermons to the people that filled the marketplaces and the great Franciscan churches of Italy." Founded in 1928, the Peter Pauper Press specialized in finely printed and bound letterpress volumes for the trade and special editions for publishers and institutions. Frank Magill, Masterpieces of Christian Literature.