FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST TWELVE VOLUMES OF OSIRIS, THE PREMIERE JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC HISTORY, WITH NOTEWORTHY ARTICLES ON ASTRONOMY AND ALCHEMY
SARTON, George, editor. Osiris. Bruges: Sanctae Catharinae, 1936-1956. Twelve volumes. Quarto, original oversized tan paper wrappers, uncut and mostly unopened. $4800.
First edition of the first twelve volumes of this important journal focusing on the history of science from ancient mathematics to alchemy in the Middle Ages to Indian astronomy.
This journal, edited by respected Belgian-American science historian George Sarton, tracks the history of science and mathematics from an interdisciplinary and multicultural perspective. Of particular interest are the articles on astronomy and 12th- to 18th-century alchemy. Volume II features a lengthy paper by W.J. Wilson titled, “An Alchemical Manuscript by Arnaldus de Bruxella,” which discusses the 15th-century manuscript in-depth, offering new translations of portions of the work, interpretations of Arnaldus’ theories, and even includes four illustrations from the manuscript. Volume V includes an article called, “The Texts of Michael Scot’s Ars Alchemie,” which attempts to cast some light on the differences between the three versions of one of the most important alchemical texts extant. The entirety of Volume VI is devoted to cataloguing Latin and vernacular alchemical manuscripts in the United States and Canada, offering in-depth bibliographical information for each manuscript and reprinting portions of their contents. In Volume XI, the history of metals is discussed in 17th-century terms in Edward Hill Duncan’s “The Natural History of Metals and Minerals,” which views metals in terms of Milton’s Paradise Lost, attempting to reconcile the conflicting beliefs of the time period from transmutation to alchemy to Ancient Greek science.
Text generally fine, only lightest wear to a few original wrappers. Fine condition.