Tractatus de Homine

Renati Des-Cartes Tractatus de homine, et de formatione foetus quorum prior notis perpetuis Ludovii de la Forge, M.D. illustratur

Descartes, René; Louis De La Forge; Claude Clerselier
Amsterdam: Daniel Elzevir, 1677.

Good/The first illustrated Latin edition of this seminal textbook on physiology. Descartes prepared the manuscript in the early 1630s but shelved it when news of Galileo’s conviction reached him in 1633. He revisited it in 1648 but was unable to finish the project of provide the necessary illustrations. Editors recovered the manuscript after Descartes died in 1650, and eventually assigned it to Louis de la Forge together with Gerard van Gutschoven for preparation.

The “Traité de l’Homme” with extensive notes by La Forge was published in 1664. An expanded version, with further development of the text by La Forge, came out four years later. Claude Clerselier (editor of Descartes’ posthumous works) translated the 1664 text into Latin, and delivered it to Daniel Elzevir for publication.

Small quarto (21 cm); [76] 239 pages. Title in red and black. Woodcut anatomical illustrations in text. Bound in polished panel calf ruled in blind and tooled at panel corners with diamond-shaped fern tool on both boards. Gilt tooling along board edges and on spine. Text edges stained red. Covers re-attached with strong Japanese paper. Boards somewhat splayed. References: Willems, 1531; Osler, 932; Garrison-Morton (5th ed.), 574. (Inventory #: 6332)

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