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Books Fit for a King: The Presentation Copies of Martin Bucer's De regno Christi (London, British Library, Royal MS. 8 B. VII) and Johannes Sturm's De periodis (Cambridge, Trinity College, II.12.21 and London, British Library, C.24.e.5)

Benjamin Pohl (notes) and Leah Tether (notes)

Abstract

This article discusses the presentation copies of two sixteenth-century works, Martin Bucer’s De regno Christi and Johannes Sturm’s De periodis, both of which were sent in fine copies by Bucer to John Cheke in 1550. The covering letter that accompanied these books survives today at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, whilst the presentation copy of De regno Christi intended for King Edward VI is British Library, Royal MS. 8 B. VII. The circumstances surrounding these books, their production and transmission can be reconstructed in unusual and intriguing detail. This article presents several new and important discoveries, including the identification of the two presentation copies of Sturm’s De periodis mentioned by Bucer in his letter (today London, British Library, C.24.e.5 and Cambridge, Trinity College, II.12.21), as well as the tentative attribution of the binding of Royal MS. 8 B. VII to Bucer’s collaborator, the Strasbourg-based printer Remigius Guidon. An in-depth analysis of these artefacts and their codicological features confirms that TCC II.12.21 was intended for Edward VI, whereas BL C.24.e.5 can be identified, for the first time, as a book designed for and received by Princess Elizabeth. The dynamics governing the production and exchange of presentation copies between the Edwardian court and the Protestant reformers serve to paint a sharply focused picture of Bucer’s activities around 1550, that is, at a key moment of religious change in England.

Books Fit for a King: The Presentation Copies of Martin Bucer’s De regno Christi (London, British Library, Royal MS. 8 B. VII) and Johannes Sturm’s De periodis (Cambridge, Trinity College, II.12.21 and London, British Library, C.24.e.5) (PDF format) 1.2MB

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