Boyle's Most Important Medical Book, Bound with the Work Propounding his "Corpuscular Hypothesis," Describing the Formation of All Matter


(Oxford: Printed by Hen. Hall, 1663; London: Printed for Henry Herringman, 1661). 195 x 160 mm. (7 3/4 x 6 1/4"). [20], 127, [9], 48, 57-417, [19]; [4], 36, [2], 37-105, [13], 107-249, [1] (blank) pp. (with several mis-paginations but complete). Two works in one volume. FIRST EDITIONS of both works.

Contemporary speckled calf, raised bands, spine with lettering that was once gilt (but now rubbed away). Verso of title and recto of H2 with small ink stamp of the Selbourne Library. First work: Fulton 50; Wing B-4029; Second work: Fulton 25; Heirs of Hippocrates 264; Garrison-Morton 665.1; Wing B-3929. ◆Front joint cracked about an inch at head and foot, extremities a little bumped and rubbed, calf torn at the tail edge of front cover showing a bit of the board underneath; pastedowns lifted, revealing binding structure, two-inch light brown stain (from a chemical?) affecting the tail margin and lower edge of the text in the first part of the first work, first few leaves of second work a bit browned, occasional mild marginal stains or rust spots, but still a very good copy with no fatal defects, the text mostly clean and fresh, and the binding solid.

The two works in this volume are greatly important scientific publications individually, and together they demonstrate the author's virtuosity as a natural philosopher and experimentalist, as they cover an impressive array of subject matter including medicine, physiology, zoology, philosophy, and chemistry. Although Boyle is chiefly remembered for his contributions to chemistry (see later in this discussion), "Some Considerations" was among his most important in the field of medicine. According to the DNB, the text here "was to prove his most extensive medical work and . . . was widely cited in the debates on medical practice of the time." In it he describes a great many experiments, cures, observations, and case histories, with topics as diverse as limb regeneration in certain animals, using fright to cure ailments, and the preparations of tinctures, cordials, and other remedies. The second work here is of monumental importance to the history of chemistry because it is considered the precursor to Boyle's classic essay, "The Sceptical Chymist," which he published less than six months after the appearance of "Essays." These complementary works both promoted chemistry as a separate discipline from alchemy, but it is in Boyle's "Essays" that he first sets out his "corpuscular hypothesis," describing the basic formation of all matter. This theory would drive his subsequent experimentation and also influenced some of the era's finest thinkers, including Isaac Newton and, perhaps to an even greater degree, John Locke. In discussing corpuscularianism, Boyle also touches on an important physiological discovery when he describes digestion as observed in a dog, "thus giving recognition to the existence of the agents now designated the 'enzymes.'" (Fulton).

Price: $11,500.00

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