Paris, Challamel ainé, 1863-1864. In two volumes. Folio (36.9 x 28.0 cm; board size 38 x 30 cm). 686 pp. [xii, 294; 380]; 58 [32; 26] lithographed plates of which ten fully or partly hand-coloured, several heightened with gum arabic; five maps of which four hand-coloured. 20th-century black buckram. Spines with gilt-bordered red leather label with gilt title. Speckled edges. Original printed wrappers bound in.
The most important work on the continental malacology of Algeria and in fact the whole Maghreb region, and the magnum opus of the French malacologist Jules-René Bourguignat (1829-1892), founder of the 'Nouvelle École' in malacology. The Nouvelle École proposed that species did not really exist, but were merely a manmade concept, and to be rightfully named, a shell should differ from similar ones in at least three characteristics. In practice, this meant that many infrasubspecific groups were named, including colour forms, teratological specimens, or just specimens that happened to be at the extreme end of a biological species' variability. Bourguignat's approach was much condemned during the mid-20th century (see e.g., Dance). However, when molecular data became available in the late 20th century, many a Nouvelle École synonym turned out to be a valid species or subspecies after all. This is one reason why Bourguignat's work on the continental molluscs of Algeria remains important, if not becoming more important. The fine, detailed illustrations, extensive descriptions and mostly quite accurate type localities form another. Included are terrestrial snails and slugs (the latter mostly in fine hand-colouring), and freshwater snails and bivalves. It is rare to see a complete copy, with the printed wrappers included. Text pages 9-32 are bound in twice; the second was meant to replace the first. Also bound in (with the fourth fascicule, dated January 1864) an additional 4 pp. printed list of works by Bourguignat. Nissen erroneously calls for just 26 plates. Provenance: stamp of the American malacologist and malaco-historian Richard Irwin Johnson (1925-2020) in the top margin of the first wrapper and second half-title. Light shelf wear; a few leaves, in particular the explanatory leaf's versos, with some, usually quite minor foxing, a weak, marginal dampstain in several text sections; most text leaves and nearly all the plates, however, quite clean. In all a very good copy. Caprotti II, p. 1 ; S. P. Dance (1968) J. R. Bourguignat's Malacologie de l'Algérie, 1863-4 (in J. Soc. Biblphy Nat. Hist.5); Nissen ZBI, 504.