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Titel: Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris ...
Verlag: Antwerp, Balthazar Moretus, 1635
Folio (357 x 215 mm), pp [viii] 502 , with engraved printer's device on title and 70 woodcuts in the text; some very slight browning, a very attractive copy in contemporary blindstamped pigskin over wooden boards, with clasps, traces of contemporary inscription of a monastic library on title, later ink stamp partially deleted. £6500First edition of this important account of the natural history of Mexico, including much material relative to pre-conquest New Spain. Many New World species are described here for the first time, and native names are given. There are accounts of ceremonies, preparations of medicines, and the native uses of plant, animal, and mineral products. 'Its title notwithstanding, this book is a presentation of exclusively New World natural history. Nieremberg was pretty much a stay-at-home Jesuit encyclopedist, but he did have access to the unpublished manuscripts of Francisco Hernandez and to a great deal of information sent back by fellow Jesuits in the New World. He is particularly useful for having gathered in one place all previous information about New World animals; here, for example, are three armadillo drawings, as done by Belon and l'Ecluse. But there are also some true novelties in Nieremberg: a manatee, for example, and the first published illustration of a Virginia opossum, complete with young in pouch' (Joy Kenseth ed, The age of the marvelous p 120).Nieremberg (1595-1658) did in fact have some firsthand experience in the New World. Upon completion of his noviciate, he was sent to New Castile (Kingdom of Peru, which extended north to the isthmus of Panama) as a missionary. Returned to Madrid, he taught natural history at the Royal College for fourteen years. He was a notable mystic and prolific author: 'His eloquent treatise, De la hermosura de Dios . (1649), is the last classical manifestation of mysticism in Spanish literature. Nieremberg has not the enraptured vision of St Theresa, nor the philosophic significance of Luis de León, and the unvarying sweetness of his style is cloying; but he has exaltation, unction, insight, and his book forms no unworthy close to a great literary tradition' (Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th edition, v. 19 p 672).'According to Nissen, most of the cuts of plants are modifications by Christoffel Jegher (1569-1653) on the cuts of plants used in the works of L'Ecluse published by Plantin. 21 of the woodcuts of animals are signed l.c.' (Johnston).Provenance: Horticultural Society of New York, bequest of Kenneth K. Mackenzie, October 1934, with bookplate; Robert de BelderAlden 635/93; Arents 3278; Nissen ZBI 2974; Johnston 191; Sabin 55268; Sommervogel V 1736 13; Wellcome 4546. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 2072
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