London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
MAYOW, John (1641-1679). Tractatus quinque medico-physici. Quorum primus agit de sal-nitro ... Secundus de respiratione. Tertius de respiratione foetus in utero, et ovo. Quartus de motu musculari ... Ultimus de rhachitide. Oxford: Sheldonian, 1674. 8° (174 x 106mm). Engraved portrait and 6 plates, 3 folding (occasional very light browning). 19th-century mottled calf-backed boards, red edges (spine gilt recently).
FIRST EDITION of the first, third and fourth tracts, the other two having first appeared in 1668. The most important was his De respiratione, present here for the second time, which confounded the theories of Swammerdam (see lot 249). 'In the tract on respiration Mayow described perfectly its mechanism, with the movement of ribs and diaphragm. He understood that the lungs were moved by the action of the diaphragm, and suggested that the internal and external interdostal muscles brought about the inspiration of air, which then expanded naturally into the enlarged space produced in the chest cavity', (ODNB). Wing M1537; Norman 1474; Gedeon p. 75; Garrison-Morton 2726.2 'In the second edition of the "Tractatus quinque" Mayow recorded a case of mitral stenosis, probably the first description'.
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