Swammerdam's essential work on the morphogenesis of insects and frogs

Swammerdam, J.

Historia insectorum generalis in qua verissina mutationem...duce experientia... recepta vulgo insectorum metamorphosis solide refutatur... adjicitur dilucidatio... Ex Belgica latinam fecit Henricus Christianus Henninius. Editio Secunda.

Published 1693
Item ID 46116

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Ultrajecti [Utrecht], Ottho de Vries, 1693. 4to (19.3 x 15.6 cm). Half-title, title in red and black with woodcut vignette, 212 pp., [xvii]; 13 (mostly) folded engraved plates, one folded table. Contemporary half vellum over marbled boards, spine with gilt title on morocco label, gilt name embossed on front board.

This is the third (second Latin) edition of a work of great scientific merit. Swammerdam laid the foundation of modern insect-classification, which still rests to a great extent upon their evolutionary history. He also proved wrong almost everything then believed about insects, especially spontaneous generation, and the whole ontogenesis, which he demonstrated in very detailed drawings. The live history from egg to adult is shown on several plates. Apart from various insects, the ontogeny of a frog is also included. Swammerdam's works are renowned for their depiction of even the most complicated details in the minute creatures (and their even smaller parts) that he investigated. Although Swammerdam died at a young age, he is considered in some circles to be one of the very important Dutch scientists of the 17th century. The original edition of the present work appeared in Dutch in 1669. With a bookplate pasted on the front pastedown and some browning in the text and on the plates. "H. Laspeyres" is printed in gilt on the marbled front board. This is most probably the German entomologist Jakob Heinrich Laspeyres (1769-1809). Cat. BM(NH), p. 2055; Horn-Schenkling, 21795; Nissen ZBI, 4053.

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