"LAID THE GROUNDWORK FOR MODERN CONCEPTIONS OF RESPIRATORY PHYSIOLOGY"
SPALLANZANI, Lazarro. Mémoires sur la Respiration. Geneva: J.J. Paschoud, 1803. Octavo, modern half black morocco gilt. $1100.
First French edition—the preferred edition—of this classic in medicine, a posthumously published book on the physiology of breathing by one of the foremost scientists of the late 18th century.
Renowned naturalist Lazarro Spallanzani is most famous for disproving in 1768 a widely believed theory of spontaneous generation, as well as discoveries that laid the groundwork for modern theories of disease and infection as well as reproduction. Spallanzani influenced Pasteur's work almost 100 years later. This volume specifically addresses "Lavoisier's suggestion that respiration was a form of slow combustion, with direct oxidation of carbon and hydrogen occurring in the lungs, [which] was disputed by the French mathematician Lagrange. Spallanzani's experimental data resolved this controversy and laid the groundwork for modern conceptions of respiratory physiology… In concluding that the blood transported carbon dioxide as a product of tissue oxidation, Spallanzani discovered parenchymatous respiration—usually accredited to the biochemist Liebig half a century later" (DSP). Translated from Italian to French by Spallanzani's usual translator and editor, Swiss botanist Jean Senebier, this work represents some of his last biological research. Due to the importance of France in studies of the natural sciences, it was this edition, rather than the Italian original, that was the more influential. Based on three manuscripts Spallanzani left upon his death, and published in the same year as the Italian original, Memorie Sulla Respirazione. Also including a biography of Spallanzani. Text in French.