New York: Harper and Brothers, . First American edition. Octavo, original blue cloth, original dust jacket. Near-fine book, dust jacket with very faint toning to the spine and rear panel, small open tear to the rear panel near the spine. An excellent copy. Item #527
"AH! LORD, MANY TOKENS OF LOVE HAST THOU SHOWED TO US" First American edition of Walter Hilton's The Goad of Love, the never-before published English translation of the medieval Stimulus Amoris. Long mistakenly attributed to St. Bonaventure, the Stimulus Amoris was a contemplative treatise, now known to be the work of several authors. Evelyn Underhill’s marvelous edition of Hilton's classic The Scale of Perfection (1923) inspired further studies of the Augustinian friar, now regarded as one of the great English mystical writers of the fourteenth-century. Hilton focused on adapting the chapters at the core of the Stimulus (apparently composed by Bonaventure's fellow Franciscan, James of Milan) by translating and paraphrasing the original Latin text and providing significant enhancements.
Edited by the medievalist Clare Kirchberger with her brief Preface outlining her decision to present the treatise in its entirety rather than focus on the most beautiful chapters in the middle of the text. The Preface is followed by a lengthy Introduction (dated “Oxford/Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul/1951”) in which Kirchberger declares: "the editor makes no apology for turning this edition of the Stimulus into a study of Walter Hilton." The Goad (a "goad" is a pointed staff used in herding) is composed of three different sections: The Passion of Jesus Christ, The Spiritual Life, and Meditations on Three Prayers (Our Father, Ave Maria, and Salve Regina). The text, footnoted throughout, is supplemented with a helpful Glossary, a Bibliography, and an Index. With Kirchberger's Dedication: “To the Brethren of Blackfriars, Oxford,” including a quotation from the text. From the series Classics of Contemplative Life, edited by E. Allison Peers, printed in Great Britain and published by Harper and Brothers in the United States, a year after the first British edition.