1638 ILLUSTRATED TREATISE ON THE FEMALE: "SO ROUND, SOFT, SMOOTH…"
AUSTIN, William. Haec homo, wherein the Excellency of the Creation of Woman is described, By way of an Essay. London: Richard Olton for Ralph Mabb, 1638. Small 12mo, 18th-century full dark brown calf rebacked, marbled endpapers; pp. (9), 189. $2500.
Second edition, published one year after the first, of this wonderful 17th-century treatise on women, with engraved extra title page, and four in-text woodcuts depicting the female form.
In this amusing and descriptive treatise, Austin discusses at length feminine form and attributes, quoting Cicero, Seneca and Pliny, among numerous other classical sources. "This faire smoothnes (which in all workes is an excellent and singular commendation) will show the fairer in Woman; if it bee but compared with the rude shape of Man: who (for the most part) is overgrowne and rough, (like the rude and hairy beasts of the field). Neither hath he the rest of his dimensions, so round, soft, smooth or ample: But in his joynts, muscles, and sinewes is more shrunke, hard and dryed. So as her fabricke shewes rather like a new building: and his, like a thing decayed by the weather." Austin's posthumously printed treatise "is said to have been suggested by Agrippa's De Nobilitate et Praecellentia Feominei Sexus. It is dedicated to Mrs. Mary Griffith. The treatment of this panegyric on Woman in general and Mrs. Mary Griffith in particular is curious and amusing in its logic and diffuseness. Not content with his own praises, the author summons the aid of writers on the 'fair sex' from Genesis onward" (Rosenbach 35: 28,29). Portrait of Mary Griffith found in some copies not present here; engraved title page, often lacking, is present. First published in 1637. STC 975. With contemporary notations to rear endpapers.
A bit of foxing, short closed tear to engraved title page, light scuffing to covers. A very good copy.