17 June 2008
BABBAGE, Charles. Passages from the Life of a Philosopher. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1864.
8o (222 x 140 mm). 24-page publisher's catalogue dated June 1864 at end. Frontispiece. (Occasional spotting.) Original green cloth gilt, uncut (rebacked preserving the original spine, inner hinges strengthened).
"IT IS DIFFICULT TO THINK OF MEMOIRS OF ANOTHER MAN OF SCIENCE WHICH MAKE SUCH ENTERTAINING READING" (Hyman)
FIRST EDITION of Babbage's final book, and the principal source, along with posthumous Babbage's Calculating Engines, of our knowledge of Babbage's Difference and Analytical Engines. Chapters V-VII contain Babbage's accounts of his Difference Engines nos. 1 and 2, along with Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas's statement on the Difference Engine drawn up from Babbage's papers. Chapter VIII contains Babbage's only published description of the design of his Analytical Engine. The frontispiece shows the only portion of Babbage's first Difference Engine to be constructed, and the final four pages contain Babbage's own bibliography of his published works. "Too fragmentary properly to be called an autobiography, it is difficult to think of memoirs of another man of science which make such entertaining reading" (Hyman 1982, 248). Van Sinderen 1980, no. 77. From Gutenberg to the Internet 6.2; Origins of Cyberspace 84.
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