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Magiae Naturalis libri viginti; ab ipso quidem authore adaucti, nunc vero ab infinitis, quibus editio illa scatebat mendis, optime repurgati : in quibus scientiarum naturalium diuitiae & deliciae demonstrantur : accessit index, rem omnem dilucide repraesentans, copiosissimus .
Sumptibus Ioannis Berthelin, 1650., Rothomagi [Rouen, France]: - Small 8vo. [14], 662 pp. [complete] [note: 147-148 and 629-630 omitted in pagination, as originally printed]. Woodcut headpiece, initial letters, illustrations & figs. [pp. 283, 285, 286, 288, 389, 397, 399, 410, 553, 554, 573, 575, 576, 577, 580, 583, 584, 592, 608, 609; light line of waterstaining showing in a few signatures. Original full vellum with unusual four brass corner pieces (apparently later) pieces with rivets; vellum soiled, large gash in spine exposing inner lining. Early ownership inscription "Ex Libris selorandri [?] ---off medcin Gesdinienoff[?]" applied to front endleaf. Internally very good. Early Latin edition of the full text of the author’s expanded text containing XX books. The work was later translated into English (1658). The contents of the twenty books are (translated here): 1) Of the causes of wonderful things; 2) Of the generation of animals; 3) Of the production of new plants; 4) Of increasing household stuff; 5) Of changing metals; 6) Of counterfeiting gold; 7) Loadstone; 8) Of Strange Cures; 9) Of Beautifying Women; 10) Distillation; 11) Perfuming; 12) Of Artificial Fires; 13) Of Tempering Steel; 14) Of Cookery; 15) Of Fishing & Hunting; 16) Of Invisible Writing; 17) Of Strange Glasses; 18) Of Statick Experiments; 19) Of Pneumatick Experiments; 20) Of the Chaos. "From 1574 to 1580 Della Porta was repeatedly interrogated by inquisitors, and the publication of his writings was prohibited. Jean Bodin, in his Démonomanie des sorciers (1580), accuses Della Porta of being a ‘poisonous sorcerer’ and goes on to attack Agrippa. Among the various followers of Paracelsus, Jacques Gohory, denounced Della Porta. As Massimo L. Bianchi has recently demonstrated, Della Porta was up to date on Paracelsus’ ideas, although perhaps only through his followers. As if this were not enough, Thomas Erastus, a Protestant critic of Paracelsism, spoke out against Della Porta as well – which leads one to believe that the last two accusations were also reactions against his chemical experiments. This onslaught forced Della Porta, at the height of his fame, to cease published for several years." – Zambelli, p. 28. "Natural Magic was revised and considerably expanded throughout the author’s lifetime." The text contents include: I: natural phenomena; II: medicinal preparations; III: alchemy, metallurgy, glass; IV: optics, a chapter on the camera obscura (the first known full description). A large part of Porta’s philosophical speculation is contained in the two versions of his Magia naturalis (1558, 1589), crystallized in the persona of the natural magus. Porta seeks to avoid all religious topics, as well as even the remotest hint of ceremonial magic; other than in the third book of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim’s (1486–1535) De occulta Philosophia, for instance, there are no instructions for prayers, fasting, or invocations (Klaassen 2013). Porta’s magic is thus less a way to improve one’s own mind or to communicate with divine forces, and more a means to manipulate objects and human beings with crafty tricks. Porta developed this secular approach to magic in the face of ecclesiastical prosecution, for it seems that he was condemned for exercising ceremonial magic (Zambelli 2007). Porta’s magus is a decidedly male figure who unites the physical dexterity of the trickster, the experience of the alchemist, the erudition of the humanist, the astrologer’s command of mathematics, and the intuitive knowledge of the psychic medium in order to embody a superhuman, ideal man capable of manipulating everything and everybody. The magus must be talented, rich, educated, and hard-working; magic is the most noble part of philosophy for Porta (Magia 1558: bk. 1, ch. 2). Instead of a priest or metaphysician in quest of the divine—as in Pico della Mirandola or John Dee—(Harkness 1999), Porta’s magus is thus depicted as an artifex (a craftsman or mastermind) who knows how to manipulate the natural and occult properties of certain bo [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Jeff Weber Rare Books, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2017-06-04           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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