HARVEY, William (1578-1657). Exercitationes de generatione animalium. Quibus accedunt quaedam de partu: de membranis ac humoribus uteri: & et conceptione. London: William Dugard, for Octavian Pulleyn, 1651.
4o (225 x 156 mm). Collation: s4 a4 B-Z4 Aa-Ss4 (, C4, Ss4 blank). 168 leaves. Engraved title, woodcut title-page vignette, headpieces, ornamental initials. Preliminary quire folded and bound in the order , 4, 1, 2; quire a bound after . (Browned, unobtrusive mend to blank area of title page.) Contemporary vellum over thin pasteboard.
Provenance: "Monsieur de Bons, conseiller du roy en la cour des aydes contes et finances de Montpelier" (contemporary inscription on final leaf, ex libris on title page, signature on back cover); unidentified armorial blind stamp on binding; Ariano(?), Discalced Carmelites (inkstamp, title page); Lt. L. Lassenge, 40e Reg. d'Infanterie (ink stamp, last page); Herbert McLean Evans (1882-1971) (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. "After the publication of De motu cordis, Harvey turned his attention to the study of generation. Even if Harvey had not discovered the circulation of the blood, his remarkable work on embryology would have placed him in the front ranks of biological scientists" (Norman). Harvey disagreed with the prevailing theory, based on Aristotle and Galen, that the fetus was formed by the action of semen on menstrual blood, and also denied the doctrine of the "preformation" of the fetus. Instead, after studing the development of chick and deer embryos, he argued that animal life proceeds from eggs by the gradual building up of the parts. This principle was to become one of fundamental importance in the history of embryology.
Garrison-Morton 467; Keynes Harvey 34; NLM/Krivatsy 5342; Osler 710; Waller 4118; Wing H-1091; Norman 1011.