FORTUNIUS LICETUS DE MONSTRIS. Ex recensione Gerardi Blasii, M. D. & P.P. Qui Monstra quaedam nova & rariora ex recentiorum scriptis addidit. Editio Novissima. Iconibus illustrate.

Second illustrated edition (the third overall). Quarto. Contemporary full calf, the spine with five raised bands, compartments decorated in gilt and with titles in gilt. Red speckled edges. Engraved additional title page. Illustrated with 73 half and quarter-page engravings (including one folding) of monsters i.e. deformed humans and animals, in addition to fantastical, monstrous hybrids of both. Early eighteenth-century armorial bookplate for John Brownlow, 1st Viscount Tyrconnel (1690-1754) to the verso of the title page and another for his estate, Belton House, to the front pastedown. A very good copy indeed, the binding square and firm with a little rubbing and cracking to the joints, chipping to the spine ends, a few minor scuffs to the boards, and wear to the corners. The contents with the tiniest trace of worm to the margin of the first three pages, a little toning and light foxing to the preliminary pages, and a minor ink smudge to the bottom margin of one engraving are otherwise in very good order and clean throughout. An attractive copy.

The second illustrated edition of this classic work of by the Italian physician, philosopher and friend of Galileo, Fortunio Liceti (1577-1657), first published (without illustrations) in 1616. This edition is the first to include the "Appendix of new and rare monstrosities" by the Dutch physician Gerard Blasius (1627-1682), one of the founders of comparative anatomy, illustrated with fifteen engravings, including images of conjoined twins, the "horned woman", the well-known engravings of Lazarus and his "parasitic twin" Johannes Baptista Colloredo, and the famous depiction of an Orangutan (the "Satyr Indica"). One of the earliest classifications of deformities. This work, by the Paduan physician Liceti, was still under review in works on malformation in the 19th century. It includes both real and imaginary cases and accurate descriptions of cases observed in the years following the first edition. Liceti contested the "vulgar" opinion that identified monsters with errors or failures in the course of nature. Liceti likened nature to an artist who, faced with some imperfection in the materials to be shaped, ingeniously creates another form still more admirable. On this view, monsters revealed nature not as frustrated in her aims, but as rising to the challenge of recalcitrant matter, a constricted womb, or even a mixture of animal and human seed. "It is in this that I see the convergence of both Nature and Art," wrote Liceti, "because one or the other not being able to make what they want, they at least make what they can." "By the early decades of the seventeenth century, professors like Aldrovandi and physicians like Liceti who inquired into the wonders of nature were joined by erudite Jesuits like Athanasius Kircher, gentleman virtuosi like John Evelyn, and members of academies such as the Accademia degli Lincei in Rome or the Academia Naturae Curiosorum, founded in Schweinfurt in 1652. Not all marvel-mongers in the seventeenth century concerned themselves with natural philosophy; nor did all natural philosophers and natural historians attend to marvels. But there was an unprecedented (and never-to-be-repeated) overlap between the two groups. This was in part because marvels, described in words and displayed as things, saturated early modern European culture, thrusting themselves into the consciousness of nearly everyone, from prince to pauper to philosopher." (Daston & Park, "Wonders and The Order of Nature"). [Thorndike, Vol 7, pp. 52-3; Osler 3235. Wellcome III, 514. Waller 5779. Goldschmid, S. 42. Garrison-Morton. 534.52; Graesse, v. 4, p. 203; Rosenthal, Bibl. magica 4375].

Stock code: 21400

£4,800

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