TORSELLINI’S BIOGRAPHY OF FRANCIS XAVIER, IN SPLENDID ARMORIAL CALF-GILT
TORSELLINI, Horatii [Orazio]. De Vita B. Francisci Xaverii [Of the Life of the Blessed Francis Xavier]. Lyon: Petri Rigaud, 1607. 12mo, contemporary full brown calf rebacked with original spine laid down, elaborately gilt-tooled spine and boards, all edges gilt. $2500.
Early edition of Torsellini’s noted biography of Francis Xavier, in beautiful armorial binding.
One of the six founding members of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), Francis Xavier served as a missionary in Portugal, Western India, Sri Lanka and Japan. "Francis was one of the greatest of Christian missionaries; his travels covered many thousands of miles in 11 years, and his successes in preaching and in personal conversion were tremendous. He possessed a singular combination of profound mysticism and common sense" (Columbia University Press). Pope Gregory XV canonized Xavier, along with Ignatius of Loyola, as a saint in 1622. "Orazio Torsellini spent 22 years as a professor of classical literature at the Jesuit Roman College… His apostolic interests and gifts as rhetorician found expression in an early biography of the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier, published in 1593" (Lucas, 271). Text in Latin. Calligraphic ink inscription in Latin dated 1611.
Mild dampstaining to lower right corner of text block, marginal tears with loss to first several and last two leaves, not affecting text. The handsome calf binding bears a central coat-of-arms within an intricate, leafy lozenge and corners filled with sprigs, all framed within a matching border. Minor rubbing to bright gilt. A beautiful, near-fine volume.