1868 De Imitatione Christi (The Imitation of Christ), Thomas a Kempis. Provenance. Woodcut style illustrations and borders (medieval style).


A very attractive printing of The Imitation of Christ, in a fine binding, with illustrations resembling the woodcuts and borders of early book printing (medieval) throughout the entire work (see posted pictures). This book only recently released from the Jesuit's collection, at their sale of the Judge William O'Brien's library (provenance note below).

About The Imitation of Christ

"The Imitation of Christ (Latin: De Imitatione Christi) by Thomas à Kempis is a 15th century Christian devotional book. It was first composed in Latin ca. 1418–1427. It is a handbook for spiritual life arising from the Devotio Moderna movement, of which Kempis was a member. The Imitation is perhaps the most widely read Christian devotional work next to the Bible, and is regarded as a devotional and religious classic. Its popularity was immediate, and it was printed 745 times before 1650. Apart from the Bible, no book has been translated into more languages than the Imitation of Christ."

"The text is divided into four books, which provide detailed spiritual instructions: 'Helpful Counsels of the Spiritual Life', 'Directives for the Interior Life', 'On Interior Consolation and 'On the Blessed Sacrament'. The approach taken in the Imitation is characterized by its emphasis on the interior life and withdrawal from the world, as opposed to an active imitation of Christ by other friars. The book places a high level of emphasis on the devotion to the Eucharist as key element of spiritual life." - Wikipedia


This book was in the care of the Milltown Park Jesuits until a Sotheby's sale in June of 2017. The book hails from the library of William O'Brien, the judge and bibliophile (most famous for presiding over the Phoenix Park murders in 1882). The Jesuits released a number of their books to auction stating that they'd seen very little use in their 100 years of holding them.

About the Book

Measures 19 x 13 x 2 cm. Leather fine binding; borders by double fillet. Five ribs to spine, with compartments between with central gilt decoration in four and title and author on red Moroccan in one, year of 1868 in gilt at bottom. All edges red. Pages - (1), viii, 346, (1)


See pictures. A few marks to boards. Some rubbing at edges, 1 cm joint crack at bottom front. A few leather cracks on rear board. Dust on top edge. Book plate of William O'Brien and ticket of his bequest to the Jesuits on the pastedown. Free front end paper has a few pencil bookseller marks. Title page has the "C", meaning catalogued, as written by the Jesuits and a large Jesuit stamp. There are spots here and there throughout, as is typical of 19th century publishing firm (Macmillan) paper.

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