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    1517 Shepherd's Kalendar

    [Shepherd's Kalendar]. [Here begynneth the kalender of shepardes. Newely augmented and corrected. London: R. Pynson, 1517].

    Small folio in eights (10.9375 x 7.5 inches; 278 x 191 mm.). forty-six leaves present, therefore lacking fifty-eight leaves. With twenty large woodcut illustrations, most of which feature the torments of hell associated with particular kinds of sins; also with numerous smaller pictorial woodcuts, decorative borders, and initials. Printed in roman and black letter in red and black.

    Early twentieth-century half dark brown calf over marbled board, expertly rebacked. Spine lettered in gilt. Bibliographic notes on recto of third front flyleaf (probably by a nineteenth-century owner); a few instances of marginal notes in a different hand. Soiling and toning, mostly marginal, throughout. Nearly every leaf with built-up margins or outer corners; the entire first leaf mounted within a mat open on both sides. Overall a good fragment of this well-illustrated and extremely rare work.

    Modern readers who encounter The Shepherds Kalendar may not know what to make of its hodgepodge nature; indeed, its content ranges from the phases of the moon to recipes for medicine to copious graphically illustrated descriptions of what happens to sinners in Hell. A clue lies in the title of the work from which much of its content (and hellish woodcut illustrations) derive: VĂ©rard's L'Art de Bon Vivre (i.e. The Art of Good Living), first printed in Paris in 1492. Essentially, the work is a kind of Old Farmer's Almanac for the late Middle Ages, wherein whose pages readers could discover how to live best in this world -- as well as the next.

    An exceedingly scarce book, just one copy of one English edition of The Shepherd's Kalender has sold at auction since 1927.

    STC 22408.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    7th-9th Thursday-Saturday
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