12mo in 8s and 4s, pp. , 177, [3 (imprimatur, index, and errata)], with folding plate comprising 8 woodcut diagrams; woodcut and typographic ornaments; a very good copy in contemporary sheep, spine tooled in compartments, edges speckled, sewn two-on on 3 cords with two false bands, recent gilt black morocco spine label; a little worn, spine chipped; eighteenth-century ownership inscription ‘Ex libris Stephani Lespinasse med. Studiosi’ to front pastedown.
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Tractatus de motus fermentativi causa novam et mechanicam hypothesim conteniens, authore Joanne Astruc artium liberalium magistro, & in universitates montpeliensi medicinae studioso.
A dissertation on fermentation published by the physician Jean Astruc (1684–1766), aged eighteen; he later taught anatomy at Toulouse and the Collège Royal in Paris, and served as consultant to Louis XV and as chief physician of August II of Poland.
This is Astruc’s first work; he would go on to publish, inter alia, the highly influential De morbis venereis (1736) on syphilis and the Traité des maladies des femme (1737) on obstetrics and gynaecology. Astruc ‘covered all phases of medicine: anatomy, physiology, psychology, gerontology, pathology, therapy, venereology, gynecology, neurology, and pediatrics … His works were translated into English and German, and were known widely in Europe’ (DSB).
In his treatise, perhaps the foundation of his later development of iatrochemical and iatromechanical principles, he discusses existing philosophical opinions on the causes of fermentation by Descartes, Gassendi, and others; proposes a new hypothesis; assesses the effects of heat and the phenomena of crystallisation, precipitation, and explosions.
Scarce outside France; we find two copies in the UK (BL and Wellcome) and two in the US (National Library of Medicine and Indiana).
Wellcome II, p. 64; Quérard I, p.64.
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