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Exercitationes de generatione animalium.
typis Du-Gardianis; impensis Octaviani Pulleyn in Coemeterio Paulino, London 1651 - 4to (220 x 155 mm). [28] 301 [3] pp. Signatures: pi4 (pi1 blank) a4 B-2S4 (blank 2S4), 167 of 168 leaves (lacking first blank), errata on 2S3v. pi2, etched title; pi3, printed title with woodcut device; woodcut headpieces and initials. pi2, the etched title-page, is here bound as a recto and the stub of the blank pi1 is between pi3 and pi4. Contemporary sheep, gilt ruled sides and spine (head and tail of spine and joints repaired, corners worn, surface of leather pitted). Text browned throughout but the etched title-page clean and in good impression, worm holes and tracks in the lower margins just touching the lower rule border of the etched title-page, small hole in leaf S1 affecting two letters, light dampstains at lower margin toward the end. Provenance: Old ink signature on printed title-page scored through; library of Walter Pagel (ownership mark to front pastedown). ---- Norman 1011; Keynes 34; Wing H1091; ESTC R17816; Garrison-Morton 467; Wellcome III, p. 219. First edition. Harvey's second great contribution to physiology, this is one of the classics of embryology. The problem of generation was a much more difficult one than the circulation of the blood. It occupied Harvey for most of his life and in the end it was not susceptible to a full solution in his time. The great contributions of this book were however of huge significance. Harvey's doctrine that every living thing comes from an egg; his insistence on epigenesis as opposed to preformation of the embryo; and his rejection of spontaneous generation are only three of the ten of Harvey's achievements in this book identified by Needham (History of Embryology, pp. 149-50). In addition, the last part of the book is a treatise on gynaecology and obstetrics drawing on Harvey's own practice which though celebrated in Herbert Spencer's 1921 Harveian Oration, seems to have been little discussed since then. The famous and often reproduced engraved title, unsigned but attributed to Richard Gaywood (c. 1630-1680), shows the figure of Jove taking the top off a large egg, out of which escape a flurry of small creatures. On the egg is the legend Ex ovo omnia, everything from an egg, the central pillar of Harvey's theory of generation. It was probably Gaywood who also etched a portrait of Harvey that was originally intended for the book but which was suppressed before publication. (On the etched title-page and portrait see Keynes, Life of Harvey, pp. 332-334 and plates XXVIII and XXIX.). R. Gaskell, Books from the Library of Walter Pagel, Pt. 2, 84. [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Milestones of Science Books]
Last Found On: 2016-02-29           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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