PELETIER, Jacques (1517-1582). L'Algebre. Lyon: Jean de Tournes, 1554.
Two parts in one volume, 8o (152 x 94 mm). Printer's woodcut device on title, some woodcut diagrams in text. (Without final blank, a few headlines shaved, some minor marginal dampstains.) Eighteenth-century French speckled vellum. Provenance: Bibliothque de Picpus (stamp on title and at end); Haskell F. Norman (his sale Christie’s New York, 18 March 1998, lot 153).
RARE FIRST EDITION of one of the first practical textbooks on algebra. Peletier believed French was the perfect instrument for sciences and wrote L'Algebre in French in his own orthographic style. He adopted several ingenious ideas from Stifel's Arithmetica integra 1544 (lot 199) and showed himself to have been strongly influenced by Cardano. He was the first mathematician to recognize relations between coefficients and roots of equations. The important two-leaf "Jacques Peletier aus Franoes" - usually found at the beginning but here at the end - contains the author's apologia for his use and spelling of French. Brunet IV:471; BM/STC French p. 343; Cartier De Tournes 284; Norman 1677; Smith p. 245 note.