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De motu animalium. Opus posthumum. Pars prima [-altera].
Rome, Angeli Bernabo, 1680-81 - Two vols, 4to (221 x 164 mm), pp [xii] 376 [11]; [iv] 520, with 18 folding engraved plates in total; a few gatherings with some slight browning as usual, small wormhole at end of first vol just touching the last two plates, a very attractive copy in contemporary Italian vellum.First edition of the foundation of the study of the mechanics of muscular movement and the origin of the neurogenic theory of the heart's action and muscular contraction. Inspired by Harvey's discoveries, Borelli was the first to insist that the heartbeat was a simple muscular contraction and that circulation resembled a simple hydraulic system.Borelli (1608-1679) was primarily a mathematician, and was one of the most distinguished pupils of Galileo. He was the first to apply systematically the new mechanics of Galileo to physiology. He analysed the movements of the human body, both external and internal, and the flight of birds, the swimming of fish and the creeping of insects in terms of levers and fulcrums. Equally important and perhaps more far-sighted, though obviously less complete, are his conclusions about the control and mechanism of the muscles themselves.'It is highly creditable to his insight and candour that, although he set out with the idea of explaining the movements of living organisms mechanically, he yet realised that the contraction and swelling of the muscles, on which all such movements depend, cannot be purely mechanical, but involves also complex chemical processes. He held, namely, that neural stimulation had something to do with the contraction and swelling of muscles' (Wolf, History of science, technology and philosophy).Dibner 190; Horblit 13; Garrison and Morton 762; Norman 270; LeFanu Notable medical books pp 90-91; Parkinson p 120; Roberts and Trent pp 42-43
      [Bookseller: WP Watson Antiquarian Books]
Last Found On: 2017-02-28           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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