A rare, truly complete ensemble of PMM320

Humboldt F. [H.] A. von [Freiherr]

Kosmos. Entwurf einer physischen Weltbeschreibung. [Complete set of five text volumes and the authorized atlas by Bromme].

Published 1845-1862
Item ID 77229

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Stuttgart and Tübingen, J. C. Cotta, 1845-1862. Six volumes (text and atlas) in seven. 8vo (21.0 x 13.1 cm). 3546 pp. (1 [1845]: xvi, 394; 2 [1847]: 544; 3 [1850] 645; 4 [1858] 650; 5.1-5.2 [1862] 1-592; 593-1297). Atlas in two parts (descriptive text; maps) oblong 4to (28.1 x 34.1 cm); two title pages, [ii], 136 pp. (for a total of 3674 pp.); 42 lithographed and engraved maps of which 39 originally hand-coloured. Text volumes: Uniform brown, grained half morocco over pebbled boards. Spines with gilt ornamental bands and vignettes. Yellow endpapers. Mottled edges. Atlas volumes: uniform brown full cloth. Spines with gilt ornamental bands and title. Original printed wrapper bound in.

One of the great 19th-century German classics. A rare complete set including the 5th text volume that was published much later and is often lacking. This set also has the original atlas by the German geographer and travel-writer Traugott Bromme (1802-1866), not the later, abridged Volksausgabe. Written by the German explorer and polymath (geographer, geologist, botanist, zoologist, philosopher) Friedrich Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859). Alexander von Humboldt "resurrected the use of the word cosmos from the ancient Greek and assigned it to his multivolume treatise, Kosmos, in which he sought to unify diverse branches of scientific knowledge and culture. This important work also motivated a holistic perception of the universe as one interacting entity, which introduced concepts of ecology leading to ideas of environmentalism" (Wikipedia). According to Keller, Humboldt planned this work for 50 years and it is what he regarded as his magnum opus. The outlines of Humboldt's view of the universe, or in Humboldt's words "the picture of nature" are presented in the first volume and explored in detail in the third and fourth. The third volume focuses on astronomy and the fourth on geology. Later, a fifth volume was added, which is rare and seldom included, but present in this set. Plate 6 is in revised edition, approved by von Humboldt, and replacing an earlier version which contained a serious mistake. Endpapers of the last three text volumes spotted; text leaves, however, nearly all entirely clean, or with just a few, small spots - a very uncommon, superior condition; atlas volumes with small, former private owner's inscription, rear boards of the atlas volumes spotted; several plates very slightly age-toned, and a bit of thumbing in the lower margins, otherwise very good, complete. PMM 320; Sabin, 33726; Sparrow, Milestones of Science, 106; Ward and Carozzi 1141.

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