English Catholic Books 1701-1800. A Bibliography. Compiled By Jos Blom, Frans Blom, Frans Korsten, and Geoffrey Scott. (Brookfield,Vermont: Scolar Press, Ashgate Publishing Co. 1996. Pp. xl, 356. $94.95.)
This is the latest in a series of bibliographical studies of English-speaking Catholics which have appeared in the last decade. The pioneers in the field were Antony Allison and David Rogers, who brought out their Cataloque of Catholic Books in English 1558-1640 in 1956. Both of the authors died in the past two years but not before their revision, The Contemporary Printed Literature of the English Counter-Reformation 1558-1640 appeared in two parts in 1989 and 1994.The volume under review deals with English Catholic books of the eighteenth century. Basing themselves on materials collected by the editors of the Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue of English Books, they visited some ninety libraries.They were also in contact with librarians and scholars at hundreds more. As a result they have increased their original number of eighteenth-century Catholic items almost by one-half. This catalog has nearly 3000 items.This compares to about 2100 Catholic items published in the seventeenth century.
It was only in the eighteenth century that Catholic books began to be published and diffused widely in Ireland, Scotland, and North America. A random check of titles reveals that about 62% of the titles were printed in England (95% of them in London), 22% in Ireland, and 8% on the European continent. Smaller shares were printed in North America and Scotland.
It was an age when authors felt no compunction about adapting or editing another author's work. Of Bishop Challoner, the most prolific Catholic author of the century, it has been said,"It is never safe to assume that any passage in Challoner is original. He revised the Douay Bible as well as spiritual classics such as the Imitation of Christ, the works of St. Francis de Sales, St.Teresa of Avila, and many more. It is no surprise then that the items listed under the name of Bishop Challoner (d. …