Ur-Cinderella

[Cinderella]. Geiler von Kaysersberg, Johannes (1445-1510).

Das irrig Schaf. Sagt von kleinmuetikeit und verzweiflung... mit sampt den nachvolgenden tractaten.... Strasbourg, Matthias Schürer, [ca. 1510].

[Cinderella]. Geiler von Kaysersberg, Johannes (1445-1510) Das irrig Schaf. Sagt von kleinmuetikeit und verzweiflung... mit sampt den nachvolgenden tractaten.... Matthias Schürer, [ca. 1510].

Seven parts in one volume in small 4o (196x139 mm). Collation: A8, B-C4, D8, E-F4, G6, H4; a8, b-c4, d8, e4, f6; aa6, bb8, cc-dd4, ee8; Aa6, Bb8, Cc6, Dd4 (Dd2 signed Dd3), Ee4, Ff8; (a-(b8, (c-(d6; (A6, (B4; AA4, BB6, CC4, DD4, EE6. [204] leaves, complete with all five blank leaves (fols H4, ee8, (d6, (B4, and EE6). Gothic type. Title and six sectional titles with woodcuts. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. First five quires rubricated in red, Lombard initials painted in red, in a contemporary hand. Contemporary blind-stamped, pink-stained half pigskin and wooden boards. One brass clasp, lacking the tip of the catch. Spine with three double raised bands. The lower wooden board slightly wormed. A good copy, small repair to the upper margin of the first leaf. Some wormholes mostly to the outer margin, occasionally affecting partial letters but not legibility. The woodcut is slightly offset on the separate title-pages. Some contemporary Latin marginalia, in an early hand, and a note on the verso of the front flyleaf, no longer legible.

Provenance: Arthur and Charlotte Vershbow, acquired from Gilhofer & Ranschberg, 1983 (ex-libris on the front pastedown; see The Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow, Christie's New York, 9-10 April 2013, lot 186).

First edition of seven small tracts adapted into German by the Swiss-born Johannes Geiler von Kaysersberg, preacher at the Strasbourg Cathedral, from the moral sermons of theologian Jean Gerson (1363-1429) whose works he had edited from 1488 to 1502. Geiler “was a populariser rather than an original thinker and, as such, an ideal diffuser of Gerson's thought. [...] Geiler's preference to translate almost exclusively Gerson's works addressed to simple people ‘sans lettres' rather than his learned scholastic treatises, also reflects his priorities as a parish priest dealing with daily needs of ordinary people” (Y. Mazour-Matusevich, “Jean Gerson's Legacy in Tübingen and Strasbourg”, p. 264).

The Strasbourg edition contains one of the earliest printed versions of the enormously popular fairy tale of Cinderella, included here under the title Der Eschen Grüdel, Von den anfaßenden möenschen in dem gots dienst, and considered a forerunner of the Aschenputtel by the Brothers Grimm. Each of the seven short treatises in this collection is introduced by a sectional title bearing a woodcut vignette; the woodcut on the title of Der Eschen Gründel depicts an unhappy young girl by a fireplace and is indeed considered one of the earliest illustrations of Cinderella herself, the protagonist of that celebrated fable.

The other treatises include Das irrig Schaf (a significantly enlarged version of Gerson's De remediis), Der Hellisch Low, Die Christenlich Künigin, Der dreieckecht Spiegel, Das Klappermaul, and Der Trostspiegel. The woodcut on the title of Der dreieckecht is signed with the letters 'H G', a monogram which has tentatively been attributed to different artists active in Strasbourg at that time, such as Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Grüninger, and Hieronymus Greff.

Adams G-320; VD16 G-764; STC German 335; Panzer, Annalen 670; Ritter Repertoire, 1078; Schmidt 43; P. Kristeller, Die Strassburger Bücher-Illustration im XV. und im Anfange des XVI. Jahrhunderts, Leipzig 1988, *528; L. Dacheux Die ältesten Schriften Geilers, Freiburg i.B. 1882, p. 47; R. Muther, German Book Illustration of the Gothic Period and the Early Renaissance (1460-1530), Metuchen, NJ, 1972, p. 194; Y. Mazour-Matusevich, “Jean Gerson's Legacy in Tübingen and Strasbourg”. The Medieval History Journal, 13 (2010), pp. 259-286; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 54.

$ 32.000
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