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2018-02-28 18:48:12
REDI, Francisco.
Opusculorum pars prior, sive experimenta circa generationem insectorum
Amsterdam: Henricum Wetstenium. 1685-6. 12mo. 2 vols in 1. Contemporary calf boards newly rebacked in contemporary style, gilt lettering and rules to spine, marbled endpapers; pp. v. 1: [12], 216, [20], 40, [8] p. (last 2 blank), frontispiece and 41 leaves of plates (some folded); v. 2: [8], 312, [32] p., frontispiece and 10 plates (some folded), text illustrations; occasional spots, very good. First edition of this collection of several works by Francesco Redi (1626-1697), an Italian physician and poet. The first part, on insects, is important in that it refutes the generally accepted theory of spontaneous generation of flies from rotten meat. He performed a very early controlled experiment whch proved that only rotten meat that was visited by flies produced maggots, proving that maggots must emerge from eggs laid by flies. In so doing he laid claim to being the father of both experimental biology and parasitology. The second volume deals with flora and fauna more generally, including armadilloes and mermaids. His most important work here is on the venom of snakes; Redi worked out that venom was a distinct fluid delivered through the fangs, rather than a property of snake saliva and blood.
Bookseller: Henry Sotheran Ltd. [United Kingdom]

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