"NOTHING HAD EQUALED IT IN THIS FIELD SINCE THE TIME OF ARISTOTLE": THE FIRST WORK ON MIDWIFERY BY AN ENGLISHMAN, 1653 FIRST EDITION
HARVEY, William. Anatomical Exercitations, Concerning the Generation of Living Creatures: To which are added Particular Discourses, of Births, and of Conceptions, &c. London: by James Young, for Octavian Pulleyn, 1653. Small octavo, period-style full speckled calf gilt, red morocco spine label, marbled endpapers; pp. (46), 566 [i.e. 556], (1). $9500.
First edition in English, with engraved frontispiece portrait of Harvey by William Faithorne (often missing). "The chapter on midwifery in this book is the first work on that subject to be written by an Englishman" (Garrison & Morton).
"Harvey developed the first fundamentally new theory of generation since antiquity and his work represents a major advance in the study of animal reproduction; he himself considered his De generatione animalium to be of greater scientific importance than De motu cordis" (Norman 1011). "It is notable for the insistence that all living matter is generated out of eggs, so that spontaneous generation is impossible" (PMM 127 [citing De motu cordis]). "Harvey was among the first to disbelieve the erroneous doctrine of the 'preformation' of the fetus… The chapter on midwifery in this book is the first work on that subject to be written by an Englishman" (Garrison & Morton 467). "Nothing had equaled it in this field since the time of Aristotle" (Castiglioni, 516). First published in Latin as Exercitationes de generatione animalium, London, 1651. Keynes 43.
Text generally clean. An exceptionally good copy of this important work.