Chancery folio (298 x 207mm.), from the library of samuel taylor coleridge with his autograph note on upper paste-down ("This rare and intrinsically valuable volume was presented | to me, S.T. Coleridge, by my friend, the Revd. Edward Irving, | 2 July, 1829. Grove, Highgate."), additional eight-line inscription by coleridge on front endpaper, 157 leaves (of 160, without blank leaves k6, [**]1 and N6), double column, 47 lines plus headline, Gothic letter, 3- to 6-line initials in blue or red, some with printed guides, some with marginal flourishes, larger initials in red and blue with green and red penwork decoration, first two rectos ruled in red, contemporary marginal annotations in Book II, sigs Ar and Er, late eighteenth or early nineteenth-century russia gilt, arms on upper and lower covers of the translator and bibliophile Michael Wodhull, spine gilt in compartments, a few letters scraped on h3, a few leaves very slightly browned, binding rebacked and worn, both covers detached
Michael Wodhull (1740-1816), his arms impaled with those of his wife in gilt on upper and lower covers.
Michael Wodhull, the poet and translator of Euripides, inherited a large fortune from his father whilst still young and built a fine mansion and library on the family estate at Thenford, Northamptonshire. "From 1764 to his death Wodhull was an indefatigable collector of rare and curious books" (William Younger Fletcher, English Book Collectors), many of which he had bound by Roger Payne. Duplicates from the library were sold by Leigh, Sotheby and Son at two sales in 1801 and 1803, where it is quite likely the present volume was offered; the library proper was sold after his death in the same rooms on 11 January 1886, and nine following days, in 2804 lots.
coleridge's copy of hugh of st. victor's masterpiece.
The front free endpaper is inscribed "M.Wdhall | Jan. 5th 1795" and then, after a pencil list of "The 9 vital energies accordg to Sir G. Blanc" in another hand, eight lines of autograph annotation by Coleridge commenting critically on the "Catalogue" which he considers "defective and erroneous", lacking "Names" that ought to be there, while two or three mentioned are "mere modifications of other energies"; and, with reference to Euclid, distinguishing between what is a "Description" and what "a Definition":
...in that of the Circle, which we may indeed distinguish from other figures by it's being equiradial; but which must be defined,. "The Figure formed by the circumvolution of a strait line, having one end fixed."
The mystic philosopher Hugh of St. Victor (c.1078 - 1141) was a theologican of the first order, whose teachings became one of the foundations of Scholastic theology. His De Sacramentis Christianae Fiedei is his greatest and most extensive work, a synthesis and systemization of received dogmatic into a coherent body of doctrine.
As recorded by the poet himself in this volume, this work was given to Coleridge by his friend, the brilliant preacher the Rev. Edward Irving (1792-1834), whom he first met in London in 1822. Irving dedicated his book For Missionaries after the Apostolic School to Coleridge in 1825: "you have been more profitable to my faith in the orthodox doctrine, to my spiritual understanding of the Word of God, and to my right conception of the Christian Church, than any or all of the men with whom I have entertained friendship or conservation". However, the companionship began to fade later as Coleridge had doubts over his "zealous but sadly mistaken friend" (Coleridge, Notebooks), whom he felt was misusing his ideas on spirituality, and who--contrary to Coleridge--attempted a literal reading of the book of Revelation. After his encounter with Irving Coleridge began to view the apocalypse of St. John as an historical writing rather than divinely inspired. This developed from his readings of the Cabbala and the works of the German biblical scholar J.G. Eichhorn.
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