Dell Istoria della Compagnia di Giesu. L'Asia descritta dal P. Daniello Bartoli della medesima Compagnia. Parte Prima; Il Giappone. Seconda Parte dell'Asia; La Cina. Terza Parte dell'Asia. Daniello BARTOLI.
Bartoli's Asia
3 Volumes Devoted To Asia And Japan
Rome, Varese, 1660 1663 1667.

Dell Istoria della Compagnia di Giesu. L'Asia descritta dal P. Daniello Bartoli della medesima Compagnia. Parte Prima; Il Giappone. Seconda Parte dell'Asia; La Cina. Terza Parte dell'Asia.

3 volumes. Folio [23 x 33.5 cm], engraved frontispiece signed Cornelius Bloemart after Jan Miele, (2) ff., including title and license, 663 pp., (4) ff.; (2) ff., 839 pp., 508 pp., (8) ff. including erratum and index, 1 integral blank; (4) ff., 1152 pp., (4), the latter including index and erratum. Uniformly bound in contemporary stiff vellum, raised bands on spine, vols. I and III with morocco lettering pieces, vol. II gilt stamped directly on spine. Some minor tears to spine and some repairs to covers. Scattered foxing typical of this work, with uniform light browning on several signatures; generally a large, fresh copy.

The very rare third, enlarged, and best edition of Bartoli's L'Asia descritta. This work was intended to cover the Jesuit experience in the Far East, including Japan and China since the Order's first arrival there in the mid-sixteenth century. The volume on China appeared just before Kircher's China illustrata, and served as an important source for it.

Departing from the annalistic pattern followed in previous accounts of Jesuit relations, Bartoli arranged his history according to geographical divisions, giving each volume or sub-section thereof the character of an independent monograph, and allowing a depth of detail generally lacking in his predecessors? year-by-year enumeration of events.

The countries treated here include India, Malaysia, Persia, Goa, China and Japan. The last receives particular emphasis, both because it was the training ground for many of the missionaries subsequently posted elsewhere, and because of Bartoli?s particular interest. He devotes considerable space to the early history of the mission and, as is to be expected, the religious practices of the indigenous population; he is especially fascinated by the organizational structure of the Bonzes, the Buddhist monks whom the Jesuits often successfully converted.

Bartoli undertook the task of writing the history of his Order when Jesuit influence throughout the world had begun to wane: the Japanese mission was destroyed in 1651, and the order had suffered severe criticism in Europe when some of its eclectic compromises with indigenous ritual in China and Malabar became widely known. From the standpoint of the historian's task "the need for eyewitnesses and access to documents" it was very much a now-or-never situation, since both would soon be gone in many more Jesuit strongholds. In the Order's defense, Bartoli accordingly attempts a grand synthesis of missionary activities, and his work is exceptional not only for its mastery of the historiographical tradition in the many and disparate countries where it operated missions, but for the infusion of new evidence.

The bibliography on Bartoli's histories is somewhat involved. He apparently conceived of his work on the Far East in three parts, each published separately: Part One - Asia; Part Two - Japan; and Part Three - China. The first part, L'Asia, went through at least 3 editions during Bartoli's lifetime, 1653, 1656 and 1667, the last one offered here being the most complete. The two remaining parts, on the other hand, were only published in one early edition each: Part Two, on Japan, in 1660 and Part Three, on China, in 1663.

Bartoli (1608-1685) was rector of the Collegio Romano, the principal Jesuit university. His major published works are histories of the first century of Jesuit activity in various parts of the world. He also wrote extensively on Italian literary matters and morals as well as popularizations of contemporary physicists. His style was admired during his lifetime, and still earns him a respected place in the history of Italian literature: the great poet Leopardi called him "the Dante of Italian prose."

* Bibliographischer Alt-Japan-Katalog 160-2; De Backer/Sommervogel I.970; Nino Majellaro, Daniello Bartoli. Giappone. Istoria della Compagna di Ges?lan, 1985), pp. 7ff.; not at the Bell.

Price: $18,500.00

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