Londini [London]: Thomas Bertheleti, 1546. Early edition. Finely bound by Lloyd, Wallis & Lloyd in full crushed morocco with gilt to spine and boards. All edges brightly gilt. Octavo measuring 130 x 90mm, with contemporary ownership signature partially shaved off head of title page but affecting no running titles or text. Bookplates of Willis Vickery and of Doris Louise Benz to front pastedown. Occasional worming, largely confined to lower outer corners, with one pinpoint hole running through the text from the title page to N5. Annotations throughout in a 17th century secretary hand, largely confined to margins but occasionally making corrections to text or page numbers. Complete and in line with the ESTC collation of , 216 leaves, with irregular pagination. A scarce edition, which ESTC locates at only 6 institutions in the U.S.
First published in 1531, the magisterial Book Named the Governor remains Elyot's most important and influential work. "Rather than being a work of merely general advice to noblemen and public servants, it was in part aimed at Henry VIII and intended as an extended speculum principis designed to counsel moderation in religious and diplomatic policy, and warn against the dangerous divisions in English society. Many of the examples and ideas Elyot discusses, then, have a direct contemporary context as well as a more general moral or philosophical one" (Walker). At the time of its release, Henry VIII was embarking on some of the most controversial decisions of his reign, annuling his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon and marrying Anne Boleyn in 1533, and breaking with the Catholic Church to found the Church of England in 1534. Despite Elyot's guidance toward level-headed leadership, it would become a time of tumult and violence with repercussions extending into our own time. The present edition came to print one year before the king's death, which would lead to further strife over the nation's leadership.
ESTC S100433. (Item #4124)