KEPLER, Johannes (1571-1630). Ad vitellionem paralipomena, quibus astronomiae pars optica traditur... de modo visionis, & humorum oculi usu, contra opticos & anatomicos. Frankfurt: C. Marnius & Heirs of J. Aubrius, 1604.
4o (192 x 158 mm). Printer's woodcut device on title, one engraved plate showing various anatomical sections of the eye, numerous woodcut diagrams in the text, and 2 printed folding tables. (Some browning and dampstaining, old repairs to blank gutters of some leaves at end, a few folds in tables repaired, some minor worming occasionally touching a letter in headlines). Contemporary limp vellum, spine ink-lettered (lacks ties). Provenance: note of approval by the inquisition ("Autoris Damnati, Opus Permissum"); Robert S. Dunham (his sale, Sotheby's New York, 11 December 1993, lot 709).
FIRST EDITION of Kepler's first important optical work and a highly significant book in the history of ophthalmology. The first part deals with human vision and the functions of the eye, the crucial role played by the retina, the process of refraction and the first scientifically correct explanation of myopia. The second part is divided into six astronomical chapters which "include not only a discussion of parallax, astronomical refraction, and his eclipse instruments but also the annual variation in the apparent size of the sun. Since the changing size of the solar image is inversely proportional to the sun's distance, this key problem was closely related to his planetary theory; unfortunately, his observational results were not decisive" (DSB). Kepler was responsible for introducing the terms "prism," "lens," "meniscus," and many others into the field of optics. Caspar 18; Cinti 13; Hirschberg 308; NLM/Krivatsy 6343; Zinner 3993.