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DE SPECTRIS LEMURIBUS ET MAGNIS ATQUE INSOLLITIS FRAGORIBUS, VARIÍSQUE PRAESAGITIONIBUS, QUAE PLERUNQUE OBITUM HOMINUM, MAGNAS CLADES, MUTATIONÉSQUE IMPERIORUM, PRAECEDUNT, LIBER UNUS. LUDOVICO LAVATERO TIGURINO AUTORE by  Ludwig Lavater - Hardcover - 1580 - from W. C. Baker Rare Books & Ephemera and Biblio.com

DE SPECTRIS LEMURIBUS ET MAGNIS ATQUE INSOLLITIS FRAGORIBUS, VARIÍSQUE PRAESAGITIONIBUS, QUAE PLERUNQUE OBITUM HOMINUM, MAGNAS CLADES, MUTATIONÉSQUE IMPERIORUM, PRAECEDUNT, LIBER UNUS. LUDOVICO LAVATERO TIGURINO AUTORE

by Lavater, Ludwig

Condition: Very good


Geneva: Eustache Vignon, 1580. Hardcover. Very good. [16],213 pp. In Latin. 19th-century plain paper-backed marbled boards. 19th-century German booksellers label in front pastedown. Small early inscription, crossed out in early ink, in title page, not affecting text, occasional early underlining and marginal notes. Two-inch vertical crease at head of title leaf, with half-inch closed tear at edge (tear not affecting text), faint dampstaining in first 24 leaves. Very good.

Early Latin edition, after the first edition, in German, of 1569 and the first Latin edition of 1570. Known in English as “Of Ghostes and Spirites Walking by Nyght, and of Strange Noyses, Crackes, and Sundry Forewarnings, Whiche Commonly Happen Before the Death of Menne, Great Slaughters, & Alterations of Kyngdomes,” from the 1572 English translation, this work is one of the most important demonological works of the Reformation era, profoundly influential in Elizabethan literature. The author, Ludwig Lavater (1527-1886), was a Zwinglian Swiss theologian and minister based in Zurich. In the 16th and 17th-century Protestant world, new questions had surfaced regarding the nature of ghostly apparitions—particularly their origins. In the Catholic understanding, ghosts were generally thought to be spirits of the dead on leave from Purgatory. With their rejection of the doctrine of Purgatory, Protestant philosophers and theologians were compelled to search for new answers. One (fairly unpopular) position was taken by Reginald Scot in his DISCOURSE UPON DEVILS AND SPIRITS, appended to his 1584 work, DISCOVERIE OF WITCHCRAFT, in which he argued that because the age of miracles had ceased long ago apparitions must be no more than the products of human imagination or trickery. The dominant view in Protestant theology (if still not quite the popular mind), however, came to be what Lavater expressed here in DE SPECTRIS. Lavater argued that, while many apparitions may be indeed be products of false perception, ample evidence of real supernatural visitations had existed from biblical and classical antiquity to the present day. He concluded, however, that these phenomena are not the spirits of the dead but in fact agents of Hell (and perhaps occasionally Heaven) that will sometimes take human spiritual form. He relates examples of these phenomena throughout the work, together with a taxonomy of less-human specters such as Lamiae, Larvae, and Lemures and a variety of mythical creatures. In his introduction to the 1929 Oxford edition of GHOSTES AND SPIRITES (edited with May Yardley), J. Dover Wilson demonstrates the clear influence of Lavater’s views—and possibly of his book, directly—on Shakespeare in the shaping of the dialogues surrounding the ghost of Hamlet’s father. In TAMMUZ PAN AND CHIRST : NOTES ON A TYPICAL CASE OF MYTH-TRANSFERENCE AND DEVELOPMENT (Chicago, 1912), Wilfred H. Schoff discusses the influence of Lavater’s “strange compilation of wonder stories” on the Elizabethans and traces the path of the “Dead Pan” story in English literature from DE SPECTRIS through Spencer, Milton, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Caillet 6237 ("curieux et rare"). Dorbon-Ainé 2509 (first edition). Graesse, pp. 81, 134. Rosenthal 1885. Thorndike VI, pp. 530-32.

  • Bookseller: W. C. Baker Rare Books & Ephemera US (US)
  • Bookseller Inventory #: 410
  • Title: DE SPECTRIS LEMURIBUS ET MAGNIS ATQUE INSOLLITIS FRAGORIBUS, VARIÍSQUE PRAESAGITIONIBUS, QUAE PLERUNQUE OBITUM HOMINUM, MAGNAS CLADES, MUTATIONÉSQUE IMPERIORUM, PRAECEDUNT, LIBER UNUS. LUDOVICO LAVATERO TIGURINO AUTORE
  • Author: Lavater, Ludwig
  • Format/binding:Hardcover
  • Book condition: Used - Very good
  • Quantity available: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Eustache Vignon
  • Place: Geneva
  • Date published: 1580
  • Keywords: occult, demonology, ghosts, spirits, monsters, religion, Christianity, Latin language
  • Bookseller catalogs: Oddities & Curiosities; Religion; Occult;


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title page
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