Lyons, Jean Martin, 1565.
Large 8vo of (100) ll. of the title, the epistle, the foreword and the table; 1256 pp., small worm gallery in the margin from pp. 1109 to 1120, a few minor light waterstains. Bound in contemporary limp vellum, flat spine with manuscript title on the head of the spine. Small lack of vellum on the second cover, signs of use. Contemporary binding.
181 x 113 mm.
Thickness: 100 mm.
Precious edition, rare and very beautiful, of the major work representing the keystone of French Protestantism.
It was published the following year of John Calvin disappearance which occurred on May 27th 1567 in Geneva.
Rahir, La Bibliothèque de l’amateur, 353; Brunet, I, 1500-1501; A. Erichson, Bibliographia Calviniana, p. 29; En Français dans le texte, n°60 (for the 1560 edition); P.M.M., n°65 (for the 1536 edition).
“The author’s most famous work, one of the master-pieces of French literature.”
“It was the first account that presented as a coherent and logically arranged set the thought of the Reformation. Soon translated into French by the author himself, constantly revised, it became the work of a lifetime. Calvin put the best of him and summarized his entire religious thought. Whatever the interest of his other theological writings was, it is in the Institutes that we find the most accomplished synthesis of his ideas.” (Dictionnaire des auteurs, I, 486)
Another issue of the present edition was printed in Geneva in 1565, also under the name of Jean Martin. Jean Martin worked as an editor bookseller in Geneva from 1558 to 1608. It is possible to relate to this Jean Martin the publications that bear his name at the address of Lyons: at least six small editions between 1536 and 1566 and the “Institutes of the Christian religion” by Calvin in 1565. Jean Martin probably turned to other printers from Lyons for these editions. Actually Calvin had “transformed Geneva into a propaganda center supported by a true army of printers that were supposed to flood France wit Protestant publications.” (En Français dans le texte).
Both issues of 1565 are exactly similar, except for the place of publication on the title.
“We shall not forget that the French translation of this treatise, made by Calvin himself, under the title ‘Institution de la religion chrestienne’; it is one of the first works in which our language had taken off”. (Brunet).
The Institutes is Protestantism’s major work of.
“Calvin worked his entire life for his book, which double text in French and in Latin, is by him. He kept enlarging and recasting it, concerned about keeping the balance of his work.” (Dictionnaire des Œuvres, III, 713).
The Institutes is preceded by a foreword letter by Francis I of France, dated in Basel, August 1st 1535 and which is rightfully famous.
A very pure copy preserved in its contemporary limp vellum binding.