London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1909. First edition. Thick octavo (8 3/4 inches tall), original moss green cloth gilt, satin ribbon marker. Corners sharp, tiny tears to head of gently toned spine, faint foxing to pastedowns. A near-fine copy. Item #967
"MANY A SOLDIER READING THIS BOOK MAY YET BURN TO BE A SAINT"
First edition of Francis Thompson's Life of Ignatius Loyola—well-illustrated throughout in the original binding.
When Thompson succumbed to tuberculosis in the fall of 1907, the English Jesuit John Hungerford Pollen stepped in and completed revision of Thompson's unfinished manuscript. Thompson's patron, Wilfred Meynell, provides The Literary Executor's Note, crediting the "high Ignatian authority" of Hungerford Pollen's editorship. Meynell also dedicates the book to Thompson’s sister: "To Dear Mother Austin, Nun of the Presentation and Sister of Francis Thompson His Literary Executor Dedicates this Volume with No Less than a Brother's Love." Pollen's Editor's Note acknowledges the remarkable number and variety of biographies of the Saint and endorses the "special gifts' which Thompson brings: "A story of far off times, unusual and complicated, and by consequence hard to convey clearly, is told with a simplicity and vivacity which makes it living, intelligible, and convincing. His judgement is decide and unconventional." The 100 illustrations include a frontispiece portrait (captioned: "The Only Authentic Portrait of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Painted from the Death-Mask, by Alfonso Sanchez Coello") and additional wood-engravings by H.W. Brewer and H.C. Brewer throughout the text. A facsimile of Loyola's signature repeats on the front board and title page, and with a concluding colophon: "Rebus of the Loyolas over the Entrance to the Santa Casa Loyola." Several reviews appear on the verso of the half title across from the Approbations.