Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2022 Issue

Science, Medicine, Natural History & Bibliography from Jonathan A. Hill Bookseller

Science, medicine, natural history and more.

Jonathan A. Hill Bookseller has released Catalogue 239, Science, Medicine, Natural History, Bibliography, & Recent Acquisitions. This selection includes much of a scientific nature, and nothing intended to be fictional, although in hindsight, some of the medical and scientific claims are fiction. The books here are old, mostly very old, so they represent the work of many great minds trying to understand phenomena with very little past learning to lean on. If not always right, it is their efforts that brought us to the level of knowledge we have today. Here are some selections from these historic searches for knowledge.

 

We begin with a look at some very small things. The title is Micrographia Curiosa sive Rerum minutissimarum Observations... (observations of the smallest things). The author was the Italian Jesuit Filippo Buonanni (or Bonanni). This is the 1703 first separate edition of a book originally published as the second part of an earlier book from 1691. Buonanni designed microscopes, then a fairly recent invention, and this is the earliest Italian book on the subject. Buonanni describes microscopes and specifically his own, but the most interesting part is the numerous plates drawing what he saw under his microscope. Among the drawings are some creepy ones, insects such as the louse, mosquito, mite, flea and fly, not things you want to imagine as being many times their actual size. Item 24. Priced at $6,500.

 

Now we go from a man who used science to view very small things to someone who used it to see very large, but very distant objects. Galileo invented telescopes which enabled him to see distant objects never before observed or only observed previously as dots of light in the sky. However, this book is not about his telescope nor even the science with which he was most familiar. It is about comets, a subject Galileo admitted he knew very little. The book, published in 1619, is a rebuttal to theories of comets produced by the Jesuit Orazio Grassi. Galileo's beef with Grassi, and it was one that reached a personal level at times, was the latter's failure to provide sufficient observational evidence for his claims. It wasn't so much a concern for the correctness of Grassi's theories as the sloppiness of the science he used to reach them. The title is Discorso delle Comete di Mario Guiducci, a discourse by Galileo's pupil, Mario Guiducci, but the original manuscript showed that it was mostly written by Galileo. He was attributing the work to his friend to avoid getting into further controversies personally (however, everyone involved saw through his ruse). It can also be noted that Grassi thought his theory disproved Copernicus theory of a heliocentric universe, which Galileo supported but could no longer defend because of issues with church authority, so he attacked Grassi in general rather than on specific points. The two continued their arguments for several years in public papers before Galileo discontinued the debate, believing he had prevailed. Item 36. $40,000.

 

Speaking of the heliocentric universe model, so controversial in Galileo's time he couldn't speak of it, a Greek astronomer had reached a similar conclusion to Copernicus 18 centuries earlier. His name was Aristarchus of Samos and he put forth the theory that the sun was at the center of the universe and that the earth revolved around it, contrary to the popular opinion of its day and for another 20 centuries. He believed the revolution around the sun accounted for the years and the spinning of the earth on its axis for the days. Since the stars seemed to remain fixed despite the earth's orbit, he concluded they must be extremely distant, believing they were distant suns. Not bad for 200-300 B.C. Item 9 is De Magnitudinibus, et Distantiis Solis, Luna, Liber cum Pappi Alexandrini explicationibus quibusdam, published in 1572. It is a description of Aristarchus' theories as his original text is lost. $37,500.

 

Here is one of those books that didn't entirely get it right but was a step toward today's understandings. The title is Traité Physique et Historique de l'Aurore Boréale... by Jean Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan, published in 1764. The Aurora Borealis was a little understood phenomenon at the time. Mairan exhaustively searched for historic mentions of it which he recounts. Then, he posits his own theory. Mairan believed the sun's atmosphere reached out to that of the earth and they commingled, the result being the aurora. That is not quite what happens as it is electrons from the sun exciting the earth's atmosphere that creates the spectacular lights. However, what is notable is that Mairan recognized that the sun was creating the aurora which others did not see. He reached his conclusion based on the presence of more sunspots during times of high activity. Item 60. $3,000.

 

Here is one of those discoveries that plays an important role in everyday life even today though it is doubtful any of us ever think about it. The title is L'Art de Conserver, penadant plusiers Années, toutes les Substances animales et végétales, by Nicolas Appert, published in 1810. That roughly translates to the art of preserving over many years animal and plant substances. What Appert was preserving was foods. He would place a sample in a clean bottle, seal it tight, and put it in boiling water. He then found that the food would still be good several years later. What he did not understand was that he was killing the germs in the container, and by keeping it tightly sealed, not allowing any others to enter. The food could be preserved indefinitely. The canning industry and pasteurization of milk today are based on the process Appert discovered more than two centuries earlier. Item 8. $2,750.

 

Jonathan A. Hill Bookseller may be reached at 917-294-2678 or jonathan@jonathanahill.com. The website is www.jonathanahill.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • ALDE, May 28: KIPLING (RUDYARD). Le Livre de la Jungle. – Le IIe livre de la Jungle. Paris, Sagittaire, Simon Kra, 1924-1925. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: NOAILLES (ANNA DE). Les Climats. Paris, Société du Livre contemporain, 1924. €50,000 to €60,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MILTON (JOHN). Paradis perdu. Quatrième chant. S.l., Les Bibliophiles de l'Automobile-Club de France, 1974. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LEBEDEV (VLADIMIR). Russian Placards - Placard Russe 1917-1922. Saint-Petersbourg, Sterletz, 1923. €1,000 to €1,200.
    ALDE, May 28: MARDRUS (JOSEPH-CHARLES). Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris, F.-L. Schmied, 1927. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: TABLEAUX DE PARIS. Paris, Émile-Paul Frères, 1927. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LA FONTAINE (JEAN DE). Les Fables illustrées par Paul Jouve. S.l. [Lausanne], Gonin & Cie, 1929. €4,000 to €5,000.
    ALDE, May 28: SARTRE (JEAN-PAUL). Vingt-deux dessins sur le thème du désir. Paris, Fernand Mourlot, 1961. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: [BRAQUE (GEORGES)]. 13 mai 1962. Alès, PAB, 1962. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MIRÓ (JOAN). Je travaille comme un jardinier. Avant-propos d'Yvon Taillandier. Paris, Société intenationale d'art XXe siècle, 1963. €1,000 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MAGNAN (JEAN-MARIE). Taureaux. Paris, Michèle Trinckvel, 1965. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: PICASSO (PABLO). Dans l'atelier de Picasso. 1960. €15,000 to €20,000.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.

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