The Japanese Contemptus mundi (1596) of the Bibliotheca Augusta: A Brief Remark on a New Discovery
Author(s)Triplett, Katja (1968-)
Keywordsbook history -- translation -- Kirishitan-ban -- accommodation -- Japan -- cultural history -- Japanese mission -- Imitatio Christi -- Thomas à Kempis
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AbstractThe duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, August the Younger (1579–1666), assembled one of the largest collections of books and manuscripts in seventeenth-century Europe at his residence in Wolfenbüttel, creating a world-renowned library that is today known as the Bibliotheca Augusta. In about 1662, the duke purchased an unusual 1596 print in Latin script of a religious work offered to him as Tractatus de contemptu mundi in lingua Japonica. It was included in the ethica and not, as one would expect, in the theologica section of his collection, and this may be one of the reasons why the Jesuit print has not been listed in the currently most complete bibliography of prints of the Japanese Jesuit mission press compiled in 1940 by Johannes Laures, S.J., and later supplemented. Apart from the Augusta print only two other prints seemed to have survived. The article introduces the new discovery and outlines possible reasons for the hitherto relative invisibility of the print.
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