D. O. M. S. The Life and Death of Sir Thomas Moore Lord high Chancellour of England. Written by M. T. M. and dedicated to the Queens most gracious Maiestie.

MORE Cresacre

£1800.00  [First Edition]

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First Edition. Small 4to. [Text: 194 x 142 mm]. [8], 432pp. Lightly browned throughout. Early 19th-Century russia, covers ruled in gilt, curl-marbled endleaves, gilt edges (unsympathetically rebacked, preserving the original spine, edges and corners worn, a small square rough patch on each cover near the spine where a piece of sticky tape has been removed).

 

[Douai: by B. Bellière, 1631?]

STC 18066. Gibson, More, 106. Reissued in ?1642 (Wing M2640).

 

Cresacre (Christopher) More (1572-1649) was a great-grandson of Sir Thomas More.

 

"The Life and Death of Sir Thomas Moore was written between about 1616 and 1620 and published undated at Douai between about 1626 and 1631. Formerly it was attributed to Cresacre's older brother Thomas, a secular priest, who died in Rome in 1625, making Cresacre his heir. The issue of authorship arises from discrepancies between the ‘Epistle Dedicatory’ and the ‘Preface to the reader’ in the first edition. The ‘Epistle’ clearly ascribes the authorship to Thomas, referring to him in the third person and as deceased. The ‘Preface’ just as clearly refers to the author as the youngest of thirteen children, as baptized on the anniversary of Sir Thomas More's death, as a parent, and as the only one of his brothers not to be in a religious estate. Conceivably Cresacre revised a biography first written by his brother but there is no acknowledgement of this possibility in the ‘Preface’. It is likely that the ‘Epistle’ was added at a late stage, quite probably, in view of More's vulnerable position as a recusant, in an attempt to obscure his responsibility for the work. The dedication of the Life to Queen Henrietta Maria, whose marriage negotiations Thomas furthered, could also have rendered the illusion of double authorship desirable.

 

"More's biography of his great-grandfather is largely derivative, drawn mainly from the lives of William Roper and of Thomas Stapleton, but also using materials from Nicholas Harpsfield's life and from Edward Hall and John Stow's historical accounts. His chief accomplishment is to present a fully rounded portrait of his ancestor, in which he deftly combines the personal emphasis of Roper's biography, with its cameos of wit and family life, and the internationalist emphasis of Stapleton's, which depicts Sir Thomas the European humanist, man of letters, statesman, and martyr for the universal Catholic church. From a literary point of view his achievement is considerable." (ODNB).

 

Provenance: 1: A few old vertical  pencil strokes in the margins. 2: Sir Mark Masterman Sykes, 3rd Baronet (1771-1823), of Sledmere, Yorkshire, with his gilt white leather label, sale, Evans, II, 28+/5/1824, lot 523, £1/15/-. 3: Sir Thomas Brooke, 1st Baronet (1830-1908), of Armitage Bridge House, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, with his bookplate; his substantial library was dispersed in several sales at Sotheby’s. 4: James P. R. Lyell (1871-1948), of Oxford, with his bookplate. 5: Cardinal Hayes Library, Manhattan College, New York, with circular blindstamp on title. 6: Unidentified English bookseller’s catalogue cutting loosely inserted (£450). 7: Private collection, U.S.A.

Stock Code: 225294

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