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Nova Methodus pro Maximis et Minimis. [in:] Acta Eruditorum. vol III, 1684
Leipzig, C. Gunther, 1682-85 1684 - 4to (199 x 160 mm), pp 467-473, with one engraved plate, in the 1684 volume of the Acta, the whole vol [x]] 591 [7], with 14 engraved plates (7 folding; in addition, an extraneous plate from the 1683 vol is also bound in); a fine copy in contemporary German sheep, spine gilt, binding a bit dry and rubbed.The real first edition (see below) of Leibniz' classic paper containing his independent invention of the differential calculus, contained in vol III of the Acta eruditorum.'Only after the founding of the Acta eruditorum (1682) did Leibniz present his mathematical papers to the public . In 1684 [Leibniz presented] the method of determining algebraic integals of algebraic functions, a brief presentation of the differential calculus with a hint concerning the solution of Debaune's problem by means of the logarithmic curve, and further remarks on the fundamental ideas of the integral calculus' (DSB).Leibniz was to become embroiled in a long dispute with Newton over priority in the discovery. It is now generally agreed that Newton anticipated Leibniz, but Leibniz' system was the first published. Besides, the Leibnizian notation prevailed over the Newtonian and is the system in use today.It has long been known that the 1684 paper exists in two different settings (see Edwin Wolf, The library of James Logan (1974) p 4; also The Honeyman collection, vol V, nos 1972-3) but no priority between the printings has been established before. Horblit 66a illustrates the first page of Leibniz's article in what I call setting A, and The Honeyman collection n 1972 illustrates what I call setting Bb. It is clear from comparing them that the compositor of setting B did not understand the mathematical formulae, whereas the compositor of setting A did. Furthermore, after examining various copies I found one copy of the '1684' volume containing setting B, which also contained a dedication dated 1686. Therefore it seems certain that the entire volume was reprinted in 1686, perhaps to fill orders for early volumes once the launch of the Acta had proved a success and demand had outstripped supply. The compositor followed the general layout, line- and page-endings of the earlier printing, but got into a muddle when it came to setting the equations. Also, the plate was re-engraved.'[The publisher] Mencke always tried to supply a product of impeccable typographical quality . Above all, the accurate reproduction of mathematical articles full of formulae and symbols, to which figures and models often had to be added by means of copper engravings, was the source of constant tension between Mencke and his successive printers. To Mencke, the perfect reproduction of the calculations and the avoidance of a single typographical error were absolutely essential .' (Laeven, below).For a detailed study of the publishing history of the Acta (without, however, mentioning the pirated printings) see Hub Laeven, The "Acta Eruditorum" under the editorship of Otto Mencke. The History of an international learned journal between 1682 and 1707, (Amsterdam, 1990).Ravier 90; Dibner 109; Horblit 66a; Norman 1326; Parkinson p 121 (1682, Leibniz), p 122 (1683, Tschirnhaus), p 124 (1684, Leibniz); PMM 160; Sparrow 130?
      [Bookseller: WP Watson Antiquarian Books]
Last Found On: 2017-02-28           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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