First edition. 4to. Publisher's original burgundy cloth, border ruled in blind, titles in gilt to the spine. Edges speckled red. Blue coated endpapers, binder's ticket of Burn to the rear pastedown. A very good copy, the binding square and firm with some rubbing at the spine tips and corners with minor fraying at the upper spine fold. The contents with a previous owner's name to the reverse of the front endpaper and a little spotting to the prelims, are otherwise clean and bright throughout. Housed in a quarter red morocco slipcase and cloth chemise.
One of the key mathematical works by the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In addition to his celebrated, beloved books for children, Dodgson produced almost a dozen works in the fields of geometry, linear and matrix algebra, mathematical logic, and recreational mathematics, all published under his real name, whilst in his role as lecturer in mathematics at Christ Church, Oxford. The present work concerns determinants; these "are the sum of of the products of a square block of quantities. Their condensation, or reduction to simpler forms, facilitates the solution of simultaneous linear equations, and other similar problems" (Williams, The Lewis Carroll Handbook). Although seemingly far removed from his fictional fantasies, Dodgson's academic work and his children's novels exercised a mutual influence. As Professor Francine Abeles has written, "many of the ideas involving inversions and mirror images that are so prevalent in the Alice books found their way into Dodgson's more serious work as well," for example Alice's shrinking, which is something like the shrinkage - or condensation - of a set of numbers to a single number, as explored in the present work. Dodgson's paper on the subject was read to the Royal Society on 17th May 1866, with the production of the text itself the result of a great deal of time and intellectual exertion on the author's part: "this little book has given me more trouble than anything else I have ever written: it is such entirely new ground to explore". Only around 750 copies of this first edition were printed, although the exact number is unknown.
Stock code: 20483