Of the Imitation of Christ. In four books.

  • Thomas à Kempis
  • Glasgow: Printed by Robert & Andrew Foulis 1774
  • Gaskell 573; ESTC T93324.


SKU: 4506 Category: Tags: ,


8vo, pp. xvi, 234, xvii-xx. Table of contents bound at end of text. Contemporary calf. Somewhat dustsoiled. Slightly crudely rebacked, spine divided by raised bands between gilt rules, lettered in gilt direct, hinges relined with cloth tape, rubbed, corners a little worn. Modern bookplate to front pastedown.


The sole Foulis edition of the Imitatio Christi in English; a Latin text had preceded it in 1751. There is an interesting preface in which the Foulis brothers report that the edition 'was undertaken at the desire of a Person of quality... who recommended this translation, above all others, on account of its simplicity, and wished it to be more generally read, which could not take place without a new edition, the former being not only sold off, but of so extremely small a character, that it could not be used by persons advanced in years. Although the Printers have already experienced the slow sale of their edition of the original, yet willing to try if they can be useful in this cause, they ventured to print an impression very moderate in number' (p. [iii]). Moderate numbers survive: ESTC locates ten in the British Isles and five outside.
ESTC says 'Based on Wesley's edition of F.B.'s translation', and it does indeed seem to be a lightly revised version of Wesley's text, despite the address here from 'The Translator to the Reader' signed Robert Keith, i.e. Bishop Robert Keith (1681-1757). It is unclear what 'former edition' in small type might be referred to in the printer's preface - we have not found a plausible example in ESTC - though the translator's preface presumably did make some appearance before its author's death.

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