Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1958. First edition. Two volumes. Octavo, original red and original green cloth, volume one in original dust jacket, volume two is ex-library with ink stamp to bottom of the title-page. Volume one is fine, volume two is very good indeed.
First edition of Walter Ong's book on Ramism, the American Jesuit's most important work, together with its companion volume. Ramism was based on Peter Ramus's formative attempts in the sixteenth-century to systematize all the branches of human knowledge, balancing theory and practice. "Ramism is now regularly mentioned in works on Renaissance philosophy and political science and on the general history of thought. Detecting its scent has become a kind of game--one which have been encouraged by Ramus himself, who insisted that the dialectic which was his specialty supported the whole fabric of the world's consciousness." The French scholar was killed during the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of Huguenots in 1572.
Walter J. Ong was a professor of English Literature at St. Louis University for thirty years. Ong was encouraged in his work by his mentor, Marshall McLuhan, after McLuhan evidently discouraged Ong's earlier interest in researching Gerard Manley Hopkins. McLuhan in turn relied on Ong's work in preparing the Gutenberg Galaxy. Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue is composed of four sections: Book One. Issues, Book Two. Background, Book Three. Ramism, Book Four. Sequel. Bibliography of Ramism, Notes, Index. The frontispiece reproduces a woodcut portrait: "Peter Ramus the Year of His Death" followed by a List of Illustrations describing the eighteen illustrations in the text in detail. Ong's Foreword, dated "St Louis University/January 1, 1957"
The main volume is accompanied by its bibliographical companion, Ramus and Talon Inventory, "a long-needed guide through the mass of Ramist writings." This source book collects short-title inventories describing more than 750 volumes (primarily in Latin) in the holdings of libraries in Great Britain and Continental Europe. This volume has a brief Foreword, dated "St Louis University/September 1, 1956," and Ong's dedication: "For/Herbert Marshall McLuhan/who started all this" A nearly-fine pair, rarely seen together these days. Item #445