Foto des Verkäufers
2 vols in one, folio (365 x 230 mm), pp. [xxx, including frontispiece and Privilege leaf] 346 ; [xii, including engraved frontispiece] 487  with engraved frontispiece to each part, 2 engraved portraits, 21 engraved plates, many double-page or folding, numerous engraved plates in text, some full-page, 3 with volvelles (unmounted on original engraved sheet), 7 folding or double-page tables, and numerous woodcut illustrations in the text; the margins of the two portraits folded in, frayed without affecting engraved surface, a few closed marginal tears, some gatherings spotted, generally very fresh and crisp, two minute wormholes affecting first few gatherings, in contemporary blindstamped pigskin over wooden boards, with clasps. £15,000First edition of Kircher's geo-cosmogonic masterpiece and a fine example of illustrated Baroque book production. 'As a Jesuit, Kircher rejected, for Scriptural reasons, the Cartesian notion of a slowly evolving earth, but he nevertheless displayed a great interest in the internal structure of the globe. He suggested that the earth had a central fiery region which was connected to the crust at many points, and that the earth also contained vast reservoirs of water. When the water and fire interacted, earthquakes, volcanoes, springs, and storms were the result. Although Kircher was an ardent collector of fossils and amassed a sizeable collection for his museum, he did not see them as evidence of changing ocean levels or geological catastrophes, but simply as signs of the marvellous fullness of God's wisdom' (Theories of the Earth, Linda Hall Library 1984, n. 3).'Kircher pointed out a hydrologic circle of water by evaporation, geysers, creeks, cold-water springs, and oozing through the seabed back to the abyss . His description of the influence of weathering, which he ascribed to a kind of chemical process and to cold, was sound, as was that of the geological action of water and wind' (DSB).'The basis and impetus for the Mundus subterraneus was Kircher's visit to Sicily in 1637-38, where he witnessed an eruption of Aetna and Stromboli. He prefaced the work with his own narrative of the trip, including his spectacular descent into Vesuvius, upon his return to Italy. His observations of these volcanoes led him to conclude that the center of the earth is a massive internal fire for which the volcanoes are mere safety valves.'But the work is not solely geologic. Kircher continues with fantastic speculations about the interior of the earth, its hidden lakes, its rivers of fire, and its strange inhabitants. Major topics include gravity, the moon, the sun, eclipses, ocean currents, subterranean waters and fires, meteorology, rivers and lakes, hydraulics, minerals and fossils, subterranean giants, beasts and demons, poisons, metallurgy and mining, alchemy, the universal seed and the generation of insects, herbs, astrological medicine, distillation, and fireworks' (Merrill, Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) Jesuit Scholar).This issue with the engraved titles/frontispieces dated 1665 as usual; a few copies have them dated 1664 but otherwise there are no differences between the issues.Provenance: from the Monastery library of Fulda, with stamps on versos of titles, and release stamps on endpapersHoover 483; Merrill 17; Nissen ZBI 2196; Sommervogel IV 1060 21; Ward and Carozzi 1257; Wellcome III p. 395. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 3772
Titel: Mundus subterraneus, in XII libros digestus;...
Verlag: Amsterdam, J. Jansson and E. Weyerstraet, 1665
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