17 June 2008
NEWTON, Sir Isaac. The Method of Fluxions and Infinite Series; with its Application to the Geometry of Curve-Lines. Translated by John Colson (1680-1760). -- John COLSON. A Perpetual Comment upon the foregoing Treatise. London: Henry Woodfall for John Nourse, 1736.
4o (284 x 223 mm). Errata slip after page 144. Engraved plate bound at page 273, woodcut diagrams throughout. (Early leaves lightly browned, some marginal spotting.) Contemporary panelled calf (rebacked to style).
"I THOUGHT IT HIGHLY INJURIOUS TO THE MEMORY AND REPUTATION OF THE GREAT AUTHOR, AS WELL AS INVIDIOUS TO THE GLORY OF OUR OWN NATION, THAT SO CURIOUS AND USEFUL A PIECE SHOULD BE ANY LONGER SUPPRESS'D" (Colson, Preface)
FIRST EDITION. Newton's Methodus Fluxionum was originally prepared in 1671, but remained unpublished until this English translation by John Colson. In it he presents a method of determining the magnitudes of finite quantities by the velocities of their generating motions. At the time of its preparation, it was Newton's most complete exposition of the fundamental problem of the calculus, in which he presented his successful general method. Newton prepared this treatise for the use of learners just before his death and entrusted the Latin manuscript to Henry Pemberton, who never published it. The original text was not published in Latin until 1779. Babson 171; Norman 1595; Wallis 232.
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