17 June 2008
SWAMMERDAM, Jan (1637-1680). Bybel der natuure... of historie der insecten Biblia naturae, sive historia insectorum... Edited by Hermann Boerhaave, translated from Latin by Hieronimus David Gaubius. Leiden: Isaak Severinus, Boudewyn and Pieter vander Aa, 1737-1738.
2 volumes, 2o (388 x 250 mm). Text in Dutch and Latin in parallel columns. Titles printed in red and black, engraved title vignettes and 53 engraved plates, by Johannes van der Spyk, all but one folding, uncut. Contemporary pink half deerskin and marbled boards (some repairs to spineends). Provenance: Alex Brongniart (1770-1847), director of the Musëum d'Histoire Naturelle ("Professcur d'histoire Naturelle," bookplate); Dr. Viguès (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. "This work was published by the physician Boerhaave 57 years after its author's death. This early collection of microscopical observations is based on Swammerdam's own collection of over 3000 species of insects. He gave up his medical training to devote himself to the study of minute anatomy, and so intense were his efforts that he injured his sight and health. To the advantages of the microscope he added his own manipulative skill and a series of fine dissecting instruments which he made under a magnifying glass. With Redi, he rejected spontaneous generation and proposed that the process of decay in organic matter was the result of living organisms" (Dibner). Dibner Heralds of Science 191; Nissen ZBI 4055; Norman 2037. (2)
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