(London: Printed by R.W. for William Whitwood, 1669). 182 x 104 mm. (6 3/8 x 4"). 7 p.l., 230 pp. FIRST EDITION.
Early 20th century dun-colored polished calf, smooth spine with vertical gilt titling. Front pastedown with armorial bookplate of Frederick William Cosens; front free endpaper with bookplate of the Fox Pointe Collection; verso of general title with early ink inscription of "Matt: Avant Esq. / alias Mad Tom"; title page of first work with ink inscription of Eben[eze]r. Jenkins dated 1794. Cagle 597; Gabler G16010; Simon "Gastronomica" 335; Wing C-3694; ESTC R7401. A couple of small abrasions to spine and rear board, joints and extremities lightly rubbed, but the binding sound and the leather lustrous. Mild foxing to first and last leaves, six small ink spots to first two leaves, small wormholes to tail margin, other insignificant defects, but an excellent copy internally, clean and fresh.
The two discourses here reflect the wide-ranging interests of scholar and physician William Charleton (1620-1707), whose writings covered religion, philosophy, physics, physiology, zoology, and psychology. In the first essay he examines Wit, which he defines as "the natural capacity of understanding," examining the physical and psychological causes of varying degrees of cognitive ability. According to Hunter & Macalpine, he was the first English writer to formulate a concept of the brain function, clearly pointing the way to the modern concept. Noting the similarity of the anatomic structure of the brain, but the diversity of "wit" in animals and humans, Charleton foresaw that the answer lay in future research "to find the true uses of all the several parts of the Brain." The work is cited by Lowndes for its influence on John Locke. The second discourse is a paper Charleton presented to the Royal Society on ways of preventing putrefaction of wine, and techniques to remedy defects in various types of wine. The additional oenological essay contains advice on the stages of fermentation, the times to rack wines, and also provides recipes for correcting minor defects in color, clarity, and taste. It is the work of physician and scientist Christopher Merret (1614/15-95), the first person to document the addition of sugar to wine in order to provoke a second fermentation that would turn it into a sparkling wine. Appropriately, our copy was once in the collection of wine merchant Frederick William Cosens (1819-89). Clean, complete copies of this work are not easily acquired. (ST15640)
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PJP Catalog: BOS19BF.060